Nothing says winter like warm blankets, a fire, and binge watching your favorite show. However, colder weather doesn’t mean you have to turn into a couch potato. Continuing to move during the winter months helps you feel more energetic during darker days, and can even help you fight off seasonal affective disorder.
Jackie Sanders, DPT, PT, RCAA level 1 running coach, a physical therapist at Mercy Health – Wellington Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, Anderson shares her top tips for staying active indoors during the winter time.
- Adding an exercise to any daily activity can help you add movement to your day. Do squats while microwaving something or stand on one foot while brushing your teeth.
- While watching TV at home, pick a different exercise to do during each commercial break.
- Large indoor spaces like a mall, airport, or an arena provide an opportunity for walking loops in lieu of an indoor track. See how far you can go in any given amount of time.
- Try a fitness app or video program. There are many free options online that include everything from yoga to body weight and dance exercises. Try something new! “People get stuck in a routine,” says Jackie.
- App subscriptions or online fitness groups can help keep you accountable during the cold months where you might be exercising alone.
- “Put together an exercise grab bag of things you can reach for on those poor weather days,” says Jackie. These items could include resistance bands, light weights, yoga blocks, and an exercise mat.
- Squats, lunges and pushups with additional weights are great exercises that can be done in any home or apartment. Adding slowness, pulses, or an unstable surface can turn the easiest movement into a strengthening activity.
- Never sacrifice the form of a move to do more reps – modify or drop weights if you need to. Be cautious and be your own coach.
- Add your kids into the mix! Try using them as resistance when benching or doing a squat. Or encourage free play to help them stay active too. “As long as you make it a game, they’ll probably participate,” shares Jackie.
- Have an in-home exercise machine? Check the manual and FAQs to see how else you can utilize the equipment. “People don’t always know all the ways they can use their machines,” Jackie says. Look online or at resale shops for gently used machines to bolster your home gym set up.
- If you’re able to leave the house, consider joining a gym or trying a new fitness class. There are typically great membership deals around the new year. Doing a class or personal training session allows you to experience someone else’s form of fitness. You can also get the cues and adjustments you need to stay safe while exercising back at home.
Learn more about the sports medicine services offered at Mercy Health.