Staying Active In Winter

For some, winter evokes boisterous outdoors activity! On skis, machines, or on feet, some people live for getting out in the snow. For others though, they wait and wish for longer days and warmer air. But staying active not only keeps you more fit, it keeps you mentally present and drives away those winter blues. Here are some tips for a healthier winter.

Safety is always number one. Andy VanEss, MBA, wellness program manager for Northern Light Health, has some suggestions, whether making sure you have proper form in your workout or making sure you are appropriately dressed for the cold elements. For the outdoors, make sure you have adequate clothing that keeps in the heat and wicks away sweat. Products made with 100% wool and synthetic materials are great options. Grippers or cleats for your shoes can help prevent falls on the ice and safety items such as fluorescent vests and lights can help you be seen with the lack of sunlight. Always make sure your gear fits appropriately to provide the best results.

Snow shoveling is a wintertime activity Mainers usually can’t avoid. When shoveling snow, a 5 to 10-minute warm-up inside before starting will lessen the overall strain on your cardiovascular system. You can also use a small shovel so that the weight of the snow lifted each time is lighter than what you would use for a large shovel. Also, take frequent breaks! Slow and steady works best.

If you’re one of the warriors of winter, Maine is a beautiful state with many options for outdoor recreation. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, winter hiking, walking/jogging, fat tire bike cycling, ice-skating, hockey, and ice fishing are just a few examples of exercises. Some of these activities that could be done without snow burn up more calories in snow. For example, compare walking a mile to snowshoeing a mile and you’ll notice the difference in exertion and energy spent. It’s still fun!

If you wish for warmer temperatures, there are many workouts that can be done inside your home and require zero equipment. Bodyweight exercises are a great staple for any exercise routine. You can do exercises like squats, pushups, lunges, and planks at home in a small space.

In addition to bodyweight exercises, there are streaming subscriptions, exercise apps, and the use of websites such as YouTube that are easily accessible and often require zero equipment. Subscriptions can be beneficial for people who are starting their exercise journey. They provide the proper instruction with the structure of a specific workout plan.

Whatever you do, move! Take time each day, each hour if you can, to get up and move around. Come springtime, those cleanup chores will be a lot easier if you took the time to move this winter. That’s something to look forward to.

Here are some other resources that can help keep you active until the snow melts. Wellness - Northern Light Health