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10 Tips for Staying Active This Winter

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can help prevent or delay many health problems that seem to come with age by:

  • Reducing risk of disease
  • Strengthening bones and muscles
  • Managing weight
  • Improving brain health
  • Making day-to-day activities easier

The CDC recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity per week. But as the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, your impulse might be to snuggle under a warm blanket and binge your favorite series. While there is nothing wrong with a lazy winter day, don’t let the cold freeze out your fitness goals! There are so many fun, easy ways to stay active this winter, and we have 10 tips to get you motivated.

1. Sit Less, Move More — Even on a day when you are forced to stay indoors, fight the urge to plop on the couch with a screen in hand. If you want to watch TV, do it while cleaning, sweeping, vacuuming, or clearing out a closet or set of shelves. Even moderate activity will offer some health gains.

2. Walk, Roll, Stroll — Bundle up and get outside for a walk, a nature hike, or a run! Bring the dog, push the stroller, or roll your wheelchair. If you’re dressed appropriately, there’s no reason not to enjoy a beautiful winter day outside.

3. Work Out Online — Whatever your activity level, don’t use bad weather as an excuse because you can’t get outside or go to the gym. There are so many free and sample virtual workouts you can do inside and at home for all fitness levels. A simple search yields free or low-cost exercise videos to help you do aerobics, dance, stretching, and strength-training at home, with or without workout equipment.

4. Find Activities at Your Local Community Center — Many local community centers offer residents low-cost and free activities, from exercise and dance classes to sports like basketball and soccer. Be sure to check out what they have to offer the whole family.

5. Get Wet — Does your local rec center have a pool? Forget facing the howling, cold winds and enjoy a dip in an indoor pool where you can swim laps or take a water-aerobics class!

6. Do the Mall Walk! — It makes every physical-activity list for a reason! Malls are large, heated, and safe, and there is always something interesting to see. Enjoy a few laps, window shop, and maybe hit a great sale while you’re there.

Stay Safe Outdoors

Being active outside during winter has amazing health benefits — just be sure to take these safety measures:

7. Hydrate — Even though you might sweat less outdoors than you would in the summer, you still need to drink water during any winter physical activity — even if you don’t feel thirsty.

8. Layer Up — Start with a thin synthetic layer to pull sweat from your body. The second layer, like fleece, should insulate and keep you warm. The top layer should be waterproof to protect you from wind, snow, or rain. Layering also allows you to remove clothing as needed during vigorous activity.

9. Stick to Daylight Hours — The winter sun sets quickly and early, so plan your outside activities accordingly. We recommend wearing reflective materials or bright colors so you will be seen by passing cars.

10. Buddy Up — If you are heading outside after work or school for a walk or run, try not to exercise alone. Meet up with a friend or family member, and try to stay in well-lit areas.

Healthy Delaware has tips on how to make exercise a part of your daily life, all year long!