10 Healthy Things To Do When It’s Cold Outside

by Amy Yusman, Rose Wellness Office Manager

In the DMV area, we are used to a winter season filled with blustery cold days, followed by warmer sunny days, with no transition time in between. Some winters we can’t even shovel our way out of our driveways, and others, we have 3 snowflakes, others we have lots of ice. Coming from the Midwest, I know I’m amongst the few that appreciate a good strong winter with lots of snow (I know, I know). And the few years we were stationed overseas, I desperately missed home AND missed the white winters.

No matter what kind of weather we’re having, we need to continue to be healthy and active, you can’t hibernate for the winter. We all need to find ways to keep moving and make the best of it. For some that means bundling up and enjoying outdoor sports and for others it is finding ways to get some movement while staying warm indoors. If you want to survive the winter months without the winter weight gain, don’t let the cold and snow turn you into a hibernating bear. Here are 10 healthy activities you can do when it’s cold outside.

1. Get Yourself A Health App! The first thing I’m going to recommend to everyone, not just during the winter months, but for all months, is download a health app on your phone. Or, get yourself a health device to wear on your wrist. Keeping track of your steps, heart rate, etc is important. Just having this data can help keep you motivated and moving. There are lots of options out there for free if you do a little research.

2. Go For A Hike and Photograph Nature. Bundle up and go for a hike. We’re surrounded by beautiful wooded areas for hiking, yes, even in the winter. My family has a great time exploring the woods around our home, especially in the morning after an ice storm. You will find the most beautiful frozen leaves, holly, creeks, etc. And you can make a game out of it to see who takes the ‘best’ picture.

3. Go to the Gym. Unless you are snowed in, the cold is no excuse to skip the gym. I realize it can feel like a chore, to warm up the car, bundle up, and traipse through a snowy parking lot while your cheeks are freezing, but make the best of it. Hit the weights, maybe walk a little on the treadmill afterwards. Get that heart rate going.

4. If You Don’t Have A Gym Membership-Run Up & Down Your Stairs. I realize not everyone has a set of stairs in their house, but if you do, give this a try. Run up and down your stairs for 10 sets of 10. You don’t have to do it all at once, but say every hour on the hour, sprint up and walk down your stairs. If you can’t sprint, walk it. Think of all the extra steps you’ll get in. No stairs? Not a problem. Find a sturdy chair or stool you can step up and off of.

5. Ski. Snowboard. Snowshoe. Yep, if you are bundled up with the appropriate outdoor apparel, you can head outdoors and enjoy winter sports. Here in the DMV area, there are miles of trails groomed for cross-country skiers and snowshoers. We have several ski resorts within 1 ½-2 hours of us that have all level hills for both skiers and snowboarders. If you don’t know how, take a lesson. Don’t have the equipment, rent it.

6. Go Sledding. Going down a big hill with snow being thrown in your face can be exhilarating in many ways. So can walking up the hill once you get to the bottom. Sledding is hard work. Golf courses usually have some great hills. Plus, it makes you feel like a kid again, and that’s always wonderful.

7. Go Mall Walking. You might just be surprised at how many steps you get in by spending the afternoon strolling the mall. You can even get in a ton of steps by perusing your local super Target! We aren’t looking to speed walk the mall in record time but to get up, get out and get moving.

8. Enjoy An Infrared Sauna Session. Instead of rushing to get home, make an appointment to use our Infrared Sauna. Especially at this time of year, with all of the hussle and bussle, take the time to reward yourself with a little pampering. Not to mention the many other health benefits of Infrared Sauna sessions, you can burn up to 500 calories a session! https://www.rosewellness.com/infrared-sauna-northern-virginia/

9. Clean the House. I always have my phone on me to monitor my daily movement. It is a great tool and provides instant feedback of my activity throughout the day. We live in a modest home with three floors. When I clean it from top to bottom I can easily get in 5,000 steps in just a few hours time.

10. Invite Family Or Friends Over For Games. We have the best time when we invite our friends over for game nights. Unfortunately, we don’t have much family in town, but we have friends that are like family to us. Typically the kids all band together and head to the basement for a raucous round of Catan or Heads Up. The adults all stay upstairs and laugh while we play our adult games. I truly believe that laughter is also the best medicine to combat the winter blues.

Friends, that is my list of 10 healthy activities you can do when it’s cold outside to stay active. This list is of course not meant to be all-inclusive but just some ideas. If you live in a cold climate and find yourself sitting instead of moving, give one of these a try. Now it’s your turn…let’s start 2019 as our best selves yet!

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