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Big Hearts

Don’t Let the Winter Slow You Down

Posted on
January 27, 2021

Baby, it’s cold outside, but that’s no reason to stop moving. While it may be evident, it’s a point that bears repeating: You need exercise and activity to be healthy.

The research is compelling: Sitting and being sedentary puts your health at risk. The Mayo Clinic cites 13 studies showing that sitting for 8 hours a day is as bad for your health as smoking or obesity. Here are just a few of the health impacts to consider:

  • Being sedentary can increase your risk for chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • Chronic pain can worsen without movement.
  • A sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of osteoporosis — weakened muscles can lead to more fragile bones.
  • Sitting all day can increase the chance of developing thrombophlebitis, blood clots in veins, usually in the legs.
  • The lymphatic system, which is integral to immunity, needs the body to exercise to help it work properly.

The Mayo Clinic recommends taking a break from sitting every 30 minutes. Even something as simple as standing while on the telephone can help.

But how do you exercise when you’re faced with inclement weather and the dangers of COVID-19? Many of the answers can be found around your home.

Do a mini workout

Research indicates that short workouts with bursts of intensity can be as effective as longer workouts. Even a 10-minute workout with one minute of higher intensity can help. Develop your own routine or check out options online.

Make your own gym

You don’t need a lot of space for a workout. This one from Silver Sneakers can be done in a corner of your living room.

You also don’t need to spend a lot of money on equipment or workout gear. A pair of hand weights and some elastic bands may be all you need.

Of course, you can certainly upgrade to an elliptical, treadmill or exercise bike. Buying stationary cycles with online coaches (such as from Peloton and NordicTrack) and building home gyms have become popular ways to work out during the pandemic. But you don’t necessarily need these things. Make the most of the gear and space you have.

Take a walk — inside

In non-pandemic times, you might go walking at the nearby mall or gym in the winter. But with those options now limited, you might find that walking at home works, too. There are a number of indoor walking videos you can watch online to guide you and make it more fun than just walking laps around your kitchen.

Take a walk — outside

If conditions are mild or you don’t mind bundling up, there’s nothing like the fresh air and sunshine you can enjoy with an outdoor walk. Take a walk with a friend on a regular basis, or walk alone while enjoying a podcast or audio book through headphones.

Walking offers so many benefits, including increased lung and heart fitness, improved blood pressure and better balance.

Try a new class

Whether you prefer tai chi, balance, core, dance or some other class, you will find something you enjoy with online classes or through purchased videos. COVID has restricted many activities that require gathering, but you can always Facetime with a friend and share a workout. Check with the James L. Camp Jr. Family YMCA to find out their latest offerings.

Go golfing

Play a round of golf at the Cypress Cove Country Club. Go for an outing or become a member of the 18-hole, par-72 course, nestled among the towering pines, bordered by the calm waters of the cypress cove. Their Golf Pro Shop can offer tips on your swing or test your skills.

Be creative

Winter provides the chance to clean out the garden, plant some pansies or set up an easel to paint outside on a nice day. Go birdwatching. Take a hike. This is a wonderful time of year to discover a new hobby.

While you may be tempted to hibernate this winter, don’t do it! Stay active. Here’s to your good health!

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