The winter months are perfect for curling up in your warmest blankets, donning your comfy clothes, and binging some great shows or reading your favorite books while sipping on a nice warm beverage. Afterall – it’s way too cold to go anywhere! But don’t let the cold keep you from staying active.
Wintery weather can make it difficult to enjoy your normal activities. It can be easy to use the excuse that it’s too cold outside to go for a walk or that the roads are too icy to drive to the gym. The truth is that no matter how cold or miserable it is outside, there are lots of healthy activities you can do in the comforts of your own home!
Staying Active is Important
As tempting as it may be to call it in, staying active during the winter is actually pretty important for your health. Beyond supporting your muscles, heart, immune system, and healthy weight, it can help your mind combat seasonal depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that usually occurs seasonally during the fall and winter months. Generally, it’s related to changes in the seasons like colder weather and less sunlight, and includes symptoms like sapped energy, increased appetite for carbs, and moodiness.
While the specific cause of SAD isn’t known, research shows that a drop in serotonin levels due to less sunlight/vitamin D may play a role. This is one of the reasons why staying active during the winter is important – movement and exercise can help increase your levels of serotonin! (And be sure to grab a bottle Vitamin-D 5000 IU to help give your serotonin levels an extra boost.*)
Here are some activities to keep in mind for those days when it’s just too cold or icy to step outside!
Mix Movement into TV time. Time to stop sitting on the couch or lying in bed for hours on end. Challenge yourself to get up and complete a 5-min workout in-between episodes or do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) exercises during commercial breaks. How many times can you run up and down your stairs before the commercial ends? Can you make it to the kitchen and back as quickly as you did when you were a kid and commercials couldn’t be paused?
Workout to Online Videos in your living room, bedroom, kitchen or wherever there’s space! While you might not have a full gym equipped in your home, there are plenty of exercise videos online that can help you complete a full workout in the warmth of your own home. Think of it as an opportunity to learn some new moves or put those extra canned-goods in your pantry to use – they make good weights!
If you do have gym equipment at home, check the manual or online FAQs to make sure you’re getting the most you can out of your equipment. You may be surprised to find there are ways to utilize it that you weren’t aware of.
Do Some Chores. Everyone has a list of projects they’d like to get done around the house, but sometimes they’re too time-consuming to get done. Whether it’s reorganizing your bookshelves, deep-cleaning the oven, or vacuuming every inch of your home, crossing things off your to-do list is a great way to get some movement into your day.
For chores that require a bit more sitting than moving, try switching your chair for an exercise ball or grooving to your favorite tunes while you work.
Have Fun with the Family. Whether it’s an intense game of hide-n-seek, building a fort, or spontaneous dance parties in the living room – there are a ton of activities that can keep you active and involve the whole family.
Whether it’s just a little bit of dancing while cooking or a full-on workout in your living room, any kind of movement you can get is beneficial to your health. Just think of the cold weather as an excuse to get more creative with your routine and stay safe, warm, and active this winter.