How to Keep Yourself and Your Wallet in Shape This Winter

For many people living across the United States, winter is here a bit early. The chilly weather on top of a recent abundance of holiday shopping may have you wondering how you will possibly be able to stay active without spending a lot of money.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as walking, every week — that’s a little more than 20 minutes a day. This may seem daunting, but there is good news: It’s possible!

Here are some ideas on not only how to do it, but do it on the cheap:

For short bursts of physical activity:

  • Go green. Taking advantage of public transportation isn’t just friendly for the environment — it’s also a great way to burn calories. Walking to and from subway and bus stations can add extra minutes of activity to your day. Try standing rather than sitting, as this can also increase your activity level. If you live in an area with limited public transport, try carpooling, and agree upon a pick-up point that may involve a 5-10 minute walk for you. If you’re driving, park farther away from your building so that you have an opportunity to walk.
  • Be an active co-worker. If you have a desk job, take a break every 20 minutes to stand up and stretch or take a short walk. Rather than sending a birthday email to your co-worker, walk over to their desk and wish them a good day in person. Instead of eating lunch at your desk, walk to the cafeteria.
  • Trade the TV dinner for the TV workout. While watching your favorite show, take the time to do some stretches or short exercises. It’s an easy way to stay fit and stay up-to-date with all the latest happenings!
Rather than sending a birthday email to your
co-worker, walk over to their desk
and wish them a good day in person.

For longer ranges of physical activity:

  • Enjoy the winter wonderland. Layer up and go for a walk around the block. Bring your friends. Walking in the snow can burn even more calories than walking in regular conditions.
  • Dabble in philanthropy. Many cities and towns are now homes to a number of donation-based yoga, Pilates and dance studios — and they don’t require monthly or yearly commitments! Donate as much or as little as you like.
  • Use your TV (again). Take advantage of the wide variety of workout videos available! These videos can be done anywhere and anytime, and may even be fun to do with a friend.

Don’t let the bad weather or your credit card bill scare you. Staying warm and keeping your body healthy through physical activity is easy and cheap — so get creative and bundle up!

Alexandra Kuznetsov on Linkedin
Alexandra Kuznetsov
Alexandra Kuznetsov, RD, is a Chicago-based registered dietitian working on maternal and child health issues. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer from Burkina Faso, West Africa, and is the country representative for Burkina Faso with the American Overseas Dietetic Association. Connect with her on LinkedIn.