Healthy living means staying active indoors during the cold weather months
October 31, 2022
Winter is coming — but that doesn’t mean your workout or fitness routine has to suffer.
As the weather turns colder and allows fewer daylight hours, many people may find it more challenging to stay active, but there are helpful tips to stay physically active indoors.
"The good news is that every bit of physical activity can provide health benefits," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes on its website.
"The key is to move more and sit less throughout the day … And there are many ways to be active wherever you live."
Being physically active improves sleep, reduces stress and anxiety and improves balance and mood, per the CDC.
A consistent exercise regimen is also associated with reducing depression; it also helps to maintain weight and reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes; and it can lower blood pressure, the agency added.
"All healthy adults aged 18–65 years should participate in moderate intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes [for] five days per week, or vigorous intensity aerobic activity for a minimum of 20 minutes [for] three days per week," according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
"Every adult should perform activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance for a minimum of two days per week," the same source noted.
Fox News Digital spoke to experts about how to reach these fitness goals when the weather may not be cooperating.
Identify the real problem
"First, [people] need to distinguish between can’t and won’t," said Professor Jack Raglin, an exercise scientist at Indiana University-Bloomington's Department of Kinesiology.
"There certainly are times when the weather is so harsh you shouldn’t exercise outside, but in most cases it’s more a matter of won’t," added Raglin, who studies the interaction of mind and body as it applies to competitive sports and recreational exercise.
In some instances, dressing in layers means those layers can later be removed; and by using clothes that wick away sweat, exercise can be reasonably comfortable in the cold weather, he said.
If there are trails nearby, "you get the added dividend of scenery."
Many people walk in the mall if going outside is not an option, he added.
Get started in the gym — and warm up
If the weather is indeed the real problem, then consider going to the gym.
"When the weather gets iffy outside, here are a few key things to keep in mind while using the gym to keep your fitness journey going and maximizing your efforts," said Teddy Savage of Baltimore, Maryland, the head of health and fitness excellence at Planet Fitness HQ in New Hampshire.
It’s best to first engage in a "dynamic warm-up," he said.
This means "moving your body through [a] full range of motion to effectively activate the muscles and lubricate the joints to offset possible injury due to stiffness or tightness."
Some examples of an effective warm-up include the bend and reach exercises, air squats, windmills, standing trunk rotations or hamstring sweeps, he noted.