Walking in the Winter

15 11 2012

Jesse Michel

Hello PEIA WMP Participants,

Jesse here with some tips for staying active throughout the fall and winter while keeping things fresh! Biking, running, kayaking, and walking along the beautiful trails up and down our wonderful state are just some of the outdoor exercise options we have from May-November. Unfortunately, the fall and winter can eliminate those options and force us to exercise indoors. But fear not West Virginia, this time of year does not mean we have to abandon all activity away from the gym! Take a look below for a few ideas to keeping your workouts fresh, creative, and avoiding the winter hibernation!

Clear That Snow: On days after a big snowstorm, bundle up, put on some gloves, and get to work. If you can stand the cold and find a warm jacket, clearing snow off the ground can be a tremendous workout! Whether you’re using a shovel or doing it by hand, you will work up a great sweat and increase your heart rate, Snow can be heavy and moving it around takes a lot of energy, so depending on the intensity and length of time you’re clearing it, you could burn up to 500 calories! Once you clear your sidewalk and driveway, go next door and help out the neighbors too!

Clean the House: Been waiting for a good time to do some house cleaning? Is there a better time than when your thermometer reads “12 degrees”? Give yourself a few hours to really commit to cleaning the bedrooms, the bathrooms, and living room for a real workout. Blast some of your favorite music, throw on some sweats and a t-shirt, and get to it! A thorough cleaning can burn you more than 250 calories an hour. Plus, it’s a great way to spend some time with your significant other during the winter months.

Make Black Friday Your Friend: For many of us, Black Friday means an extra early alarm, long lines at department stores, and feeling like we are sardines in a tin can. If you are one of the few who can brave the chaos in every mall across the state, use that as an opportunity to get some extra physical activity. One idea is to criss-cross your stores from one side of the mall to the other, rather than walking in order. While it may be extremely inefficient and cause an extra hour or so of walking, it could help burn off that last piece of piece of pie from the night before!

Walk, Walk, Walk: Since you’re not able to get in those workouts outside, it’s vital that you walk even more than you did before. Take the stairs, walk to lunch, and try to give yourself 15 minutes each day to clear your mind and take time to yourself. Fifteen minutes of walking each day is almost 2 extra hours of physical activity each week! That adds up to 8 hours a month and almost TWO FULL DAYS (48 hours) of physical activity from November-May. That’s a ton of calories burned and some much needed “me” time every day!

Be Creative: Being inside doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. Have a dance-a-thon or invite some friends over for a Zumba party. Buy an exercise DVD or look on YouTube for some great in-home exercise ideas. There is no excuse to allow the winter blues to keep you down. Will it take a little more motivation to be active on those days that you would have spent riding your bike along the trail? Of course it will, but just think about how continuous physical activity keeps your heart, mind, and body happy!

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