Fitting Exercise Into Shorter Days

With short days and colder weather it can be easy to go into hibernation for the winter. It is actually an especially important time of year to get out and stay active. Making time for exercise can help prevent weight gain through the darker months. It can also help those that suffer from seasonal affected disorder or SAD. Plus, exercise can help keep your immune system strong to help fight off those winter colds. With the lack of daylight, it can sometimes seem hard to stay as active as during the summer months. Here are some tips to fit exercise into your winter days:

Take advantage of the long cold nights by planning indoor physical activities:

  • Join an after-work indoor sports team like basketball or volleyball.
  • Plan to hit the gym after dark.
  • Do resistance exercises or an exercise video at home.
  • Get some walks in at a mall.

Keep in mind that your exercise can be added up throughout the day and sneak in activity when you can:

  • Park farther away in the parking lot.
  • Learn some simple exercises that can be done at your desk.
  • Sneak in a walk on your lunch break at work.
  • Housecleaning and many other chores provide good exercise. Winter can be a good time to start that active indoor house project you've been planning.
  • Wake up early to get some activity before your work day begins.

Make active weekend plans with family and friends:

  • Find a new trail to explore.
  • Plan a trip to go ice skating or skiing.
  • Visit a local indoor community pool or rec center.
  • Walk around a local museum, zoo, aquarium or other indoor exhibit.

There are many ways to fit physical activity into your day. Whichever option you enjoy will be best. Staying active has so many physical and mental benefits.

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Sarah Smith
Sarah Smith, RDN, studied nutrition at San Diego State University. Read her blog, California Coastal Nutrition, and follow her on Facebook.