Winter does not have to stop exercising efforts cold. Winter offers ample opportunity to get out and be active, while enjoying a winter wonderland.
That is how Zachary Baeseman, a family physician at ThedaCare Physicians-Waupaca, got involved in the American Birkebeiner cross-country ski marathon. “I found I was adding 10 to 15 pounds every time in the winter and then working my butt off in the spring to lose it,” he said.
He decided to do something to keep fit and active in the winter, and to be a good role model for his patients. “Now I am earning the weight in the summer so I need to find something for that time of year,” he said.
Check with your doctor when trying a new activity. Also consider getting tips and advice from an instructor to be sure you are doing it safely, said Dr. Baeseman. “Winter can be a fantastic time to get creative with fun, new activities,” he said. “Plus being active in the winter can help beat the winter blues.”
Set a goal: Consider your current fitness level, then revisit old goals and set a new one for the winter months. Aim for something that is tangible to not be discouraged.
Get outside: Snow shoeing, skiing, ice skating, sledding and more winter fun can help burn calories fast. Instead of hibernating for the winter, have fun in the snow!
Take up a winter sport: There is nothing like a competition of snow shoe or skiing that gets the blood pumping. And such events can burn mega calories. Stay home:
Get creative inside the house. Try a new workout DVD or App. Invest in a few pieces of fitness equipment like hand weights, a stability ball or resistance band. Or just use body weight for a great workout with crunches, push-ups, squats, wall-sits and more.
Don’t do it alone: Sign up for a new class. Regular activity could reignite motivation for fitness and provide a way to socialize and be committed to a sport and teammates.
Be safe: Winter is still dangerous, from the dropping temperatures to icy conditions. Wear layers to wick away sweat while keeping the body warm. Be careful for hypothermia, a condition that occurs when the body loses more heat than it can generate in return. Extended exposure and a lack of protective clothing can make one susceptible to hypothermia.
When exercising outdoors in the winter, stay close to home, carry a cell phone in case of emergency and let family and friends know what you are doing and when you should be back. Monitor the body and be aware of any of the following symptoms:
- Loss of coordination
- Pale, cold skin
- Uncontrollable shivering
- Slowed breathing or slowed heart rate
If there are any symptoms, go inside right away. It is best to stay indoors when the weather is extremely cold with high winds, extremely cold with rain or icy.