Share The Health

How to Stay Active This Winter


Baby, it’s cold outside, but that’s no excuse to forget about keeping your body healthy and in shape. While you may want to cuddle up with a good book or sit by the fire, you should also make sure you’re getting enough physical activity this winter, whether you exercise at home, at the gym, or outdoors.

Indoor Workouts to Get You Through Winter

Exercise isn’t limited to running or jogging outside in the cold, if that’s not your thing. You can also maintain your health by doing various indoor exercises, or even by doing housework. Here are some indoor activities you can do to stay active while staying warm:

  • Invest in some hand weights. Drop your couch potato routine. You can watch your favorite shows and get fit! Try lifting a little more weight each week. It’s okay if you don’t want to spend money on weights: use cans of food instead!
  • Use online exercise videos or apps. This can be a fun way to motivate yourself to stay active and add some variety to your routine.
  • Hit the mall. The mall is a great place to walk, especially if you bring a friend along. Local churches or schools may also have indoor gyms that you can use to walk laps. Using a pedometer and setting goals can help motivate you even more.
  • Take the stairs. Trying going for a walk on your lunch break. Even on a busy day, this extra physical activity can make a difference to your mind and body.
  • Do active housework. Activities like mopping, sweeping, vacuuming, washing windows, and doing laundry are great ways to stay active while keeping your house looking spotless.
  • Join a gym or health club. Here, you can use equipment you may not have access to at home, like treadmills or stair climbers. Frederick Regional Health System offers ProMotion Fitness+, which provides a safe and supportive environment for reaching your exercise goals.
  • Get involved. Join a community sports league. Many cities offer indoor sports like basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, or swimming. If you prefer a slower pace, sign up for a yoga or Pilates class. These activities are great for being active and meeting new people who can help you stay motivated.

Healthy Cold-Weather Fitness Idea

If you don’t mind a bit of chilly air, there are plenty of activities to do outside. Here are some suggestions:

  • Shovel snow. This can be a great winter exercise, but if you have heart problems, talk to your doctor first.
  • Rake leaves. Are pesky fall leaves still covering your yard? Raking them not only makes your yard cleaner, it’s a good way to get exercise.
  • Walk the dog. If you have a dog, this can be an easy way to make walking part of your daily routine. Just like your pet needs exercise daily, you do too – and you can do it together! If you don’t have a dog, try making daily walks a habit anyway, if the weather permits.
  • Try a new activity. Skating, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing are great activities to keep you moving, and keep your exercise interesting. If you live in an area with slopes, try something new by taking ski lessons.

What to Wear

Dressing for outdoor physical activity isn’t for fashion– it’s for safety. For your protection, it’s best to wear:

  • A warm hat. If it’s especially cold, consider covering your face with a scarf.
  • Layers. Consider wearing a warm shirt under your long-sleeve shirt or sweater, and make sure that your outermost layer is waterproof to keep you dry. Even if it’s not snowing or raining, it’s good to be prepared for unpredictable weather. Remember: you can tie extra layers around your waist, but once you’re outside you can’t add more layers to keep warm.
  • Wool or polypropylene clothing. These fabrics will help you retain body heat even if the fabric gets wet. Avoid cotton.
  • Wool socks and waterproof shoes. Nothing is more miserable than wet, cold socks. Especially if it’s snowy outside, you’ll want to wear shoes that shed water rather than soak it up. Wool socks are great at keeping feet warm and toasty.
  • Mittens. Mittens keep your hands warmer than gloves. If your fingers get cold, you can roll them into a fist for warmth.

Safety Tips for Exercising Outdoors

Even the most fit folks need to take some precautions before exposing themselves to the cold winter air.

  • Let people know where you’ll be. If you’re extra adventurous and live in a less-populated region, make sure someone knows where you’re going, especially if you’re hiking or snowshoeing in the woods, for example.
  • Dress for cold weather. If you plan on being outside, wear proper-fitting clothes that will keep you warm and dry.
  • Chat with your doctor. If you have heart problems or haven’t been active in a long time, ask your doctor what physical activity is safe for you to do. If you have breathing problems such as COPD or asthma, it’s important to ask your doctor about being active in cold weather.
  • Monitor yourself. If you have chest pain or feel dizzy during physical activity, stop and call your doctor.
  • Watch the daylight. Try to do your outdoor activities when it’s light outside. Use your lunch break or do family activities after your kids are out of school. If it’s dark out, walk with a partner.
  • Watch out for icy or slick ground. You can buy “grippers” for your shoes to keep you from slipping. Avoid outdoor activities if it’s extremely cold, and make sure you take the wind chill factor into account. Check the weather before you leave your house, and opt to exercise inside if the ground is too icy.
  • Stay hydrated. Don’t forget to drink water when exercising in colder weather. Just because you may not be sweating or feeling thirsty doesn’t mean you don’t need to hydrate.

There are a few serious signs to watch out for if you’ve decided to go outdoors for some exercise. Hypothermia is a serious condition where your body falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit and loses the ability to keep your internal temperature warm. Hypothermia can kill you, and children and the elderly are especially at risk because they may have limited ability to communicate, or have impaired mobility. Here are some symptoms to watch for:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Slowed reactions
  • Slurred speech
  • Cold feet and hands
  • Shivering
  • Sleepiness

Because symptoms usually progress gradually, someone with hypothermia usually isn’t aware of their condition. Call 911 if you believe you or someone else is experiencing hypothermia, and make sure that wet clothing is removed and replaced with warm, dry fabric.

Feeling hesitant about going out in the cold to get your exercise? There are actually some benefits to exercising in the winter.

  • No heat and humidity. The chilly air may even help you feel more awake.
  • You might be able to work out longer. Since it’s not nearly as hot outside, you probably won’t get overheated as quickly. This means you can burn more calories.
  • It’s a good way to take in sunlight. This can improve your mood and help you get necessary vitamin D.
  • It’s an immunity-boost. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even a few minutes of exercise per day can help you boost your immune system during cold and flu season.

Ready to Make Fitness Your Goal This Winter?

ProMotion Fitness+ is a great way to begin your journey into reaching your exercise goals. We employ the most qualified staff to work in collaboration with you and your health care provider on a tailored exercise plan, education, and support to help you achieve and maintain your healthy lifestyle goals. Yoga and Pilates classes, as well as Fitness and Nutrition for Survivors (FANS) classes, are also offered at ProMotion Fitness+.

The program offers:

  • Personal attention and guidance as needed.
  • Entry fitness assessment and re-assessment at six months, then annually thereafter
  • Blood pressure and heart rate monitoring as needed
  • Blood Glucose monitoring for diabetes patients
  • Technogym aerobic and strength equipment that allows for a personalized electronic exercise prescription that you carry with you on a wellness key This key is inserted into exercise equipment and ensures the most appropriate and safe experience for your needs. It also tracks your progress and provides feedback to your doctor, if requested.

If you’re interested in the program, would like a tour, or need more information, call 240-215-1470 today.