Are you tempted to hunker down indoors this winter? Sure, it’s frosty out there, but the best way to enjoy the glories of our winter wonderland is to get out in it. Being outdoors is GOOD for you. Your body craves natural light and fresh air all year long.
Did you know…
You need five to seven minutes of natural light every day to regulate your sleep cycle? Going outside even a little bit every day will help you sleep better. While you’re out there, you might as well have some fun by doing that OTHER thing that is great for your body – exercise!
4 WAYS TO HAVE OUTDOOR FUN
Give yourself permission to be a kid again.
The best part of playing is it doesn’t feel like working out – but the results are the same. Your heart rate goes up and your lungs and muscles get to stretch.
• Making snow angels burns 214 calories per hour. (Go ahead, make a whole angelic choir!)
• Having a snowball fight burns 319 calories per hour (more if you build your snow fort first.)
• Building a snowman burns 285 calories per hour (and you can chomp on the extra carrot noses – did you know carrots reduce your risk of heart disease?)
Walk on the beach or hike a trail
We are blessed with miles and miles of open beaches and scenic trails in northern Michigan. So put on your boots, snowshoes, cross-country skis, or climb onto your fat bike and get out there. It is BEAUTIFUL this time of year!
Need to know where to go? Click here for lots of great ideas in the Traverse City area.
Go sledding, downhill skiing, or snowboarding
Remember how much fun it was to “borrow” a cafeteria tray and climb to the top of the nearest hill? It’s still fun (but probably better/safer if you use a real sled).
Be a good neighbor
Look around your neighborhood for that older neighbor who would really appreciate having their sidewalk shoveled. You just might save them from having a heart attack, and it will do your heart good (in two ways) to help them.
5 WAYS TO HAVE INDOOR FUN
Still not convinced to venture outside? OK. If you have an aversion to snow and ice, you can stay active indoors, too. Here are a couple of ideas that might be up your alley. (Oh, bowling, now there’s a good winter sport!)
Before you shop the mall, walk the mall. It’s warm and it’s laid out just like an indoor track. Do as many “laps” as you can at a quick pace. Then do your cool down lap more slowly and check out those winter clearance sales. (You might just find some great winter gear so you could go OUTSIDE!)
You ARE the stair master
Hit the stairs for an intense and efficient 5-minute workout. In just 60 seconds, you can burn 10 calories by walking up one flight of stairs. (You will burn 1.5 calories taking the elevator). Nine flights of stairs equals that extra piece of fudge you thought you needed.
“A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time – pills or stairs.” – Healthy Lifestyle Coach Joan Welsch
Why wait for spring? You can get a great workout and make your home a healthier place by REALLY cleaning your house or apartment. Bending, squatting, vacuuming, cleaning behind furniture, wiping down walls, running up and down stairs, all burn calories.
March your way to March
This is so easy you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it. Put on your favorite tunes and march in place. Simple as that. Add another song each session. Swing your arms for an even better workout! Need more? Swing your arms while holding canned goods.
Borrow a workout DVD
Your local library or video store has a lot of fun workout videos including dance, step, aerobics, and Pilates. It’s like going to a class but FREE and no one cares what you’re wearing. When you return one video, check out another!
DRESS FOR IT!
A Scandinavian adage states: “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.”
You don’t need to spend a fortune on name brand gear to stay warm and comfortable. But you do need to follow a few basic rules:
Layer, layer, layer
Start with a thin synthetic material, such as polypropelyne, next to your skin. Do not wear cotton next to your skin because once it is wet it will stay wet and chill you. Your second layer should be an insulating layer that keeps you warm but allows water vapor to pass through – fleece is good. Your third layer should be waterproof and breathable.
Top it off
Mom was right. You lose 90 percent of your body heat through your head so always wear a hat!
Fingers, toes, and ears
Jack Frost may nip at your nose, but he’s also targeting your toes, fingers, and ears. Protect yourself from frostbite with good gloves or mittens, warm socks, and a hat or headband that covers your ears.
Your time to shine
It gets dark early, so make sure you are wearing something with a reflective surface if you are out after sunset.
Don’t forget the sunscreen and water
Snow reflects the sun’s rays, so sunburn on the slopes is a real possibility. Use sunscreen any time you are headed outdoors to protect your skin. (And, it will remind you of going to the beach!)
Also, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated any time you are active indoors or outdoors.