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Winterize Your Exercise

Keeping physically active through the winter helps control your weight, which is crucial for managing metabolic syndrome. It also reduces your risk of getting heart disease and type 2 diabetes. And it may even help protect you from the sniffles! According to the American Heart Association, exercise boosts your immunity during cold and flu season.

Add some variety to your winter workouts by trying outdoor activities, such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Or get your heart pumping by tossing snowballs, building a snowman, or sliding downhill on a sled (and then hauling it back uphill again).

Snow Day Tips

When the thermometer plunges, a few extra steps can help you stay safe and warm while exercising outdoors:

  • Do a warm-up first. Your muscles, ligaments, and tendons are more likely to get injured when cold.

  • Dress in light layers. That way, you can remove or replace clothing as needed. The innermost layer should be a fabric that holds body heat and doesn’t absorb sweat. Wool, silk, or polypropylene work best (avoid cotton because it traps moisture next to your skin and will actually make you feel colder). Next, add a layer of fleece. End with an outer layer that protects you from blustery winds, rain, and snow.

  • Don’t forget your hat. Up to 40 percent of your body heat can be lost from your head.

  • Drink plenty of fluids. It’s easy to get dehydrated in cold weather, so be sure to bring your water bottle.

Move It Inside

When the weather outside is frightful, another option is to move your favorite summer activity inside. Walk at the mall, jog or bike at the gym, swim in an indoor pool, or shoot hoops on an indoor court.

Some activities, such as tennis and softball, don’t have exact equivalents. But you can still stay in shape for next summer. Now is the perfect time for that kickboxing, yoga, or salsa aerobics class you’ve always wanted to take. 

At home, a new fitness toy—such as a Hula-Hoop, stability ball, hand weights, resistance band, exercise DVD, or fitness video game—can boost your motivation. So keep moving! Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to hibernate.

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