Hibernation: Not recommended for humans

Winter hibernation is not healthy.

hi•ber•nate: To be in an inactive or in a dormant state or period. To pass the winter in a dormant condition with metabolism greatly slowed down. Symptoms include, low body temperature, slow breathing and heart rate, and low metabolic rate.

As the weather turns colder and daylight shortens it is natural to want to stay close to home and be less physically active. Unlike animals, human beings need to keep moving, eating and thriving no matter what the season. There is a strong correlation to inactivity and heart disease, obesity and fatigue.

Michigan State University Extension says that physical activity is necessary for each of us to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It helps to both self-manage and prevent chronic disease. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least 2.5 hours a week of physical activity. Physical activity needs to raise breathing, heart rate and work towards strengthening muscles.

 Physical activity boosts disease prevention and helps:

  • Maintain weight
  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Reduce risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke and several forms of cancer
  • Reduce arthritis pain and associated disability
  • Reduce risk for osteoporosis and falls
  • Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety

Physical activity doesn’t have to stop because the temperature drops. Those with chronic disease, maintaining physical activity as part of self-management and goal setting are important.

Fresh ideas for physical activity:

  • Look to your workplace, many offer wellness programs and some with incentives!
  • Check out the convenience of health centers and gyms. Certain clubs offer individual and family wellness programs.
  • Stay home and stay fit. Discover the hundreds of DVD’s on the market.
  • Find support! Learn more about personal goal setting. Michigan State University Extension offers health education, prevention and nutrition courses.

If the change of season has you experiencing feelings of withdrawal, depression or chronic pain talk with your doctor. MSU Extension can help you manage your chronic disease through educational classes that will help you set and achieve health goals.

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