We know that we need to be active every day to maintain and improve our health; but, lets face it, that gets a lot harder when the days are colder and shorter and we have to battle snow to be outside. I would like to say that it can be good to get out in the colder weather and walk for a few minutes (as long as there are clear, dry sidewalks to walk on); but, assuming you don't feel like donning your winter parka to get your fitness on.... What are some ways to stay active even in the colder months of winter?
If you like/prefer to walk, head to your local mall or recreation center and take a walk around. There are many groups for "mall-walking" around. You can mask up and join a friend or two and walk the mall. Most recreation centers also have a walking track that you can easily keep track of your distance traveled. Some even have walking groups to keep each other accountable.
If you want to venture into a different activity, you can also go to your rec center and meet with a trainer to work on some fitness machines for weight training and cardiovascular exercise. It may seem intimidating, but most trainers are skilled at being able to address your needs and adjust to any specific areas of weakness or pain or you can ask your PT for recommendations of exercise equipment. Plus, everyone was a beginner at some point, right?!
You can also take a dip in the pool and swim, walk/run in the pool, or take a water fitness class. There are usually a variety of classes and activities in the pool. Bonus is that water provides it's own resistance and it is less impact on your joints.
Lastly, in this digital age, there are so many applications available that will give you ideas of exercises you can do in the comfort of your home. Don't worry if you don't have any equipment, many don't require anything - just your body weight; but, if you need weight, look around your house for items that you can use - full water bottles, canned food, babies :) etc. all can be used when lifting "weights".
Don't let winter slow you down and keep you from your goals! Keep moving and look forward to those warmer months when you can take your fitness back outside!
Christina Bateman, PT, DPT
One of the common questions a physical therapist will answer is: “how long should I do home exercises after finishing PT?” This is a great question and is generally specific to an individual patient’s needs. For example, a 19-year-old athlete with a rotator cuff surgery will have drastically different limitations and needs than a 69-year-old with a rotator cuff surgery. That being said there are some general guidelines a physical therapist will consider when answering this question
Bob Cranny, PT