Staying active in winter

Staying Active In Winter

People who enjoy engaging in outdoor activities may be tempted to become less active when the winter months set in, but there are several ways to continue getting regular exercise during this time of year. For instance, cross-country skiing is described as a low injury-risk sport that offers numerous health benefits, and research even shows that mortality rates among skiers tends to be lower than other individuals in the general population. This particular activity helps build muscle and improves endurance. As skiing is a whole body sport, the training process involves aerobic and anaerobic training as well as strength training, which enhances muscle mass and overall stamina.

Additional outdoor activities to consider include ice skating, snowshoeing, or even going for short, brisk walks. Walking daily is associated with a decreased risk for developing cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases. Similar to skiing, individuals who walk regularly have a lower mortality rate than inactive individuals.  

For individuals who are less prone to spending time outside during the winter, finding ways to get regular exercise is still important because staying active actually boosts the immune system’s ability to fight off common winter conditions such as the cold and flu. However, the key is engaging in regular exercise with a moderate intensity as this has been shown to be immunity enhancing, while overtraining can hinder normal immune system function. Activities such as swimming or cycling indoors, dance aerobics, or walking on a treadmill can help keep you in shape during the winter.

Yoga, Tai chi, and Qi Gong, which are often referred to as restorative activities, also help increase strength and flexibility while helping individuals relax and mentally focus. These particular types of exercises can boost energy and stamina as well, both of which improve immunity and help prevent people from getting the cold or flu. Interestingly, mall walking is becoming a popular winter activity. It has even been suggested that walking at a casual pace around the mall for example, can burn significant amounts of calories in about 30 minutes. In addition, walking at a brisk pace doubles the body’s ability to burn calories in the same amount of time.

If a current or previous injury is preventing you from engaging in regular exercise, you may benefit from Physical or Occupational Therapy, which often entails manual therapy, movement re-education as well as education about how to perform stretching and strength training exercises correctly. A Physical or Occupational Therapist typically guides the sessions in order to monitor your progress and ensure that proper healing is occurring.

Undergoing a comprehensive evaluation by a Physical or Occupational Therapists at Therapy Specialists Inc is one of the best ways to gain an understanding of how you can enhance your physical state. After the assessment, our Physical or Occupational Therapists will create a program that is specific to your needs, which can help improve your recovery time, and provide you with optimal health benefits.

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5.    Seethapathi N, Srinivasan M. The metabolic cost of changing walking speeds is significant, implies lower optimal speeds for shorter distances, and increases daily energy estimates. Biology Letters. 2015; 11(9). 20150486.

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