Don’t use cold weather as an excuse to stay on the couch until spring. Keeping physically active through the winter helps control your weight, which is crucial for managing metabolic syndrome and reducing your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Snowshoeing and crosscountry skiing offer great aerobic benefits and are easy on your joints. Tossing snowballs, building a snowman or climbing a sledding hill will get your heart pumping as well.
Snow Day Tips
When the thermometer plunges, a few extra steps can help you stay safe and warm while exercising outdoors:
• Warm up first. Your muscles, ligaments and tendons are more likely to get injured when cold.
• Dress in light layers. You can remove or replace clothing as needed. The innermost layer should be made of breathable fabric that lets sweat pass through. The outer layer should protect you from blustery winds.
• Don’t forget your hat. Up to 50 percent of the heat lost from your body while outside comes from a bare head and neck.
• Drink plenty of fluids. It’s easy to get dehydrated without realizing it in cold weather, so be sure to bring your water bottle.
Move It Inside
When the weather outside is frightful, another option is to move your favorite summer activity inside. Walk at the mall, jog or bike at the gym, swim in an indoor pool, or shoot hoops at an indoor court.
Talk with your primary care provider about your winter exercise goals. Meriter offers convenient clinic locations and scheduling options in Madison and the
surrounding communities. To learn more, visit meriter.com/clinics.