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Exercise all winter

How to stay active and fit in the colder months

Like it or not, we’re all in for a long cold winter. With the short days and cold temperatures of the Hudson Valley region, it’s easy to give up on your regular exercise programs. Many New York residents resign themselves to the inevitable winter weight gain before the spring thaw, but you don’t have to. Celebrate winter and stay fit by taking advantage of exercise options you might not get in the warmer months. Here are some tips to keep you moving all winter.

Gear up for exciting winter sports

Cold and snow means you’ll have access to some great winter workouts in the form of popular winter sports. Skiing, snowboarding, skating and snowshoeing are all excellent forms of exercise, and all the more fun because you can only do them a few months out of the year. Winter sports can also be a motivation for pre-season training; a few extra fall workouts can help you get ready for the slopes or the ice, and will help carry your fitness program through to spring.

Get outside and play in the snow

Even if you don’t have kids, there’s nothing quite like playing in the snow for fun and exercise. Building a snowman, sledding on the neighborhood hill or starting a snowball fight with friends are all great ways to get your heart pumping. Just be sure to dress for the temperature, be careful to avoid injuries and change out of wet clothes promptly.

Grab your snow shovel

It’s not always fun, but shoveling snow is a good winter workout and practical, too. Besides keeping your sidewalks and driveway safe and passable, it builds upper body strength and endurance. It can also be very strenuous when snow is wet and heavy, so use caution if you have a heart condition, or check with your doctor before you shovel the whole driveway.

Take the long walk whenever you can

Walking is a good low-impact exercise anytime of year, but a little extra walking goes a long way in winter months. Park at the far side of the lot. Use the entrance at the other end of the shopping mall. Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. Those extra steps all add up!

Don’t just sit there – do something

Make use of your down time by exercising while watching TV. Energize yourself during commercial breaks by doing sit ups, push ups and other simple exercises. Keep some resistance bands or light weights nearby and get in some reps. Anything that gets your muscles working can be a positive influence in the dead of winter.

What’s your winter fitness strategy?

With a long, long winter here in Upstate New York, we have two options for our year-long fitness plan. We can throw in the towel at the first snow fall and resign ourselves to four months of inactivity, or we can put on an extra layer and get out to enjoy winter. If you need advice on safe, effective winter exercise, talk to your primary care doctor. Need a physician? Find one here.

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