Life Times Newsletter

Winter 2009
Vol. 11, No. 1


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Nutrition & Health
Keeping fit when winter weather is frightful
 

Linda Rellergert, MS
Nutrition & Health Education Specialist
RellergertL@missouri.edu

When the weather outside is frightful, you may be tempted to stay curled up inside by the fire rather than brave the elements for the sake of fitness. However, staying active is too important to your health to wait until the spring thaw. Try some of the following suggestions to have a more active lifestyle, whatever the weather.

Dress for success. Staying active in cold weather can be pleasurable (really!) if properly dressed. Successful cold weather garb includes these essentials:

¨ Start with your head. A warm hat is essential to maintain body temperature. Make it one that is comfortable and stays on your head, even when the wind blows.

¨ Warm gloves add greatly to comfort and help prevent sore, chapped hands. Use mittens when temperatures get frigid. Keep feet warm and dry in wool-blend socks and insulated boots for snowy fun.

¨ Layers are important to hold in body heat. You can regulate body temperature by taking off layers as you warm up. Garments that make good layers include long underwear, tights or leggings, long-sleeved T-shirts, turtleneck tops and sweaters, vest and coat or jacket.

¨ Fabrics can make a big difference in comfort. Fleece is very warm yet lightweight. Microfiber and silk garments can be much warmer than heavy cottons. Nylon is an effective wind block. Waterproof finishes are a must for snow activities.

Fit in several short fitness breaks throughout the day. Health experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of movement on most days, but that time can be broken into shorter segments.

¨ Try a couple of 10- to 15-minute periods a day with different activities. For example, take a stretch break instead of a coffee break at work. Get up and walk to speak with a co-worker instead of emailing. Take the long way to the copy machine.

¨ Make movement part of your everyday routine. Take the stairs instead of elevator. Park as far from the door as possible. Do calisthenics or household chores during TV ads. Go into the bank instead of using the drive-up window.

¨ Use household chores like vacuuming, dusting or laundry as an opportunity to move vigorously.

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Explore new activities.

¨ Try mall walking, indoor swimming or other water activities; sign up for Tai Chi; or take dancing lessons. Treat yourself to a new aerobic dance video, or look for a yoga program on TV.

¨ Join or start a church or community-based sports team. Look into joining the YMCA or other community fitness program.

¨ Buy a piece of exercise equipment. A treadmill or stationary bicycle may be just the ticket to keep you moving and motivated. Learn as much as you can before shopping; consider purchasing gently used equipment rather than new. Keep your mind occupied while on the treadmill or bike by listening to music or books on tape, watching TV, or reading a good book. Give new meaning to the term “active social life” by choosing active entertainment when you go out with friends. Dancing, bowling, laser tag and ice skating are fun, active alternatives to sitting in a movie or concert.

¨ Bring out all your fitness equipment and set up a fitness circuit. Spend 5 to 10 minutes on each piece of equipment. Alternate with walking or jogging in place until you make the complete fitness circuit.

¨ Sign up for a strength training program. University of Missouri Extension has a strength training program especially for middle-aged and older adults called Stay Strong, Stay Healthy. For information about this program call your county Extension office or visit http://missourifamilies.org/sssh/.

Stay active all winter long to protect your health and make sure you are ready for a fun, active spring and summer.

 

 

 

 

 


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University of Missouri Extension Editor: Roxanne T. Miller
MillerRT@missouri.edu