NDSU Extension Service - Mercer County

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10 Tips to Stay Active This Winter

physical activity, fitness, stay fit

Submitted by Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent/Family and Consumer Sciences

When cold winter temperatures keep us indoors, what can we do to stay fit?

All adults should aim for at least 2 ½ hours, or 150 minutes, of physical activity each week. Every little bit of fitness adds to the goal. Remember, doing something is better than doing nothing!

  1. Start a physical activity tradition. Instead of "cozying up" by the TV, bundle up and take a walking tour of holiday lights after dinner.
  2. Think differently about seasonal chores. Turn tasks, such as shoveling and housecleaning to prepare for guests, into fun activities. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how much you can get done as a team.
  3. Be a kid again. Go sledding, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Make a snowman, a snow fort or snow angels. You can enjoy many healthy and fun outdoor winter activities. You will want to protect yourself and your family by dressing appropriately for the cold weather. Holiday gift idea: Check out second-hand sporting goods stores for discounted prices on skates, skis, snowshoes, and other outdoor equipment.
  4. Take 10. Do at least 10 minutes of activity at a time. Take a 10-minute walk at lunchtime or after school or work.
  5. Turn off the TV. Set a rule that no one can spend longer than two hours per day playing video games, watching TV or using the computer (except for school work).
  6. Play indoor physical activity games. Go on scavenger hunts or play charades. For example, be an Olympic skater or a star basketball player.
  7. Find an indoor place to walk. Check if a local school gym is open to the public for walking. Walk at a mall. The average supercenter is 179,000 square feet (a mile is 5,280 feet). Be cautious when walking at malls, though. Don't be enticed to overspend your budget or have high-calorie snack along your route. Bring a bottle of water.
  8. Turn your kitchen into a gym. Use your countertop for balance and stretching exercises. Try doing "toe-stands." Stand with legs shoulder-width apart. Stand on your tiptoes for a minute. March or jog in place. Use cans of vegetables as weights; do sets of 10 arm raises or as many as you can do. Take a break to dance with your cooking partner.
  9. Help others while building your fitness minutes. Volunteer at a senior center, help with holiday drives or help assemble food or gift baskets.
  10. Set a physical activity goal. Write it down and chart your progress on a calendar. Holiday gift idea.  Invest in pedometers (step counters) or Fitbits for the family. There are some smart phone apps available for free. Track your steps every day. Building to 10,000 steps a day.

Visit www.ag.ndsu.edu/foodwise for more information to stay healthy.

So eat those veggies, get your body moving, schedule time for relaxation, and enjoy that piece of cake when important life celebrations come about! Cheers to a happy, healthy, 2016 for all!

Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

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