How will you stay active this winter?

The beautiful Michigan landscape can help turn a typical winter day into a wonderland of fun that is good for your health, too!

A family walking in the snow outside.
Photo: iStock.

During the cold and snowy winter months, it can be difficult to remain physically active. The key to incorporating exercise during this time of the year is to find an activity that is right for you. Winter offers a unique variety of outdoor activities, most of which can take place in your own backyard, local recreation area or one of Michigan’s state parks

There are many winter activities the whole family can enjoy. Consider building a snowman, having a snowball fight, going sledding or tubing, creating a snow fort or making snow angels. Activities that incorporate skills such as balance, flexibility, agility and strengthening include skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice skating. To keep motivated and focused on your goals, it’s important to mix up the workouts as necessary. 

When exercising outdoors, be sure to warm up and cool down thoroughly. This helps prepare your body for exercise and to ensure that you recover properly. Learn more tips from the Mayo Clinic on how to stay safe while exercising outdoors.

Still dread the idea of going outside and prefer to stay indoors during these cold months? Joining a gym or recreation center may provide the incentive you need to exercise by providing access to various classes or a swimming pool. However, incorporating exercise doesn’t mean that you need to spend money. You can utilize exercise videos or DVDs from the library; walk your local mall, community college, or schools; take the stairs whenever possible; or perform simple body weight exercises such as lunges and squats to help you stay in shape.

Remember, exercise can be fun while providing health benefits! When beginning an exercise program, even 10 minutes at a time will help you reach your fitness goals.

Benefits to physical activity include:

  • Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Improved heart health.
  • Reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
  • Lowered risk for various types of cancer.
  • Strengthened bones, joints and muscles.
  • Improved mental health and mood behaviors.
  • Improved ability to do daily activities and prevent falls in older adults.
  • Increased quality and longevity of life.

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Why wait for the weather to warm up? Bundle up and challenge yourself to get moving today!

Would you still like more information on how to remain physical activity during the winter months? Michigan State University Extension offers information and workshops on our Food and Health website. Find your county on the drop-down list under events

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