It’s Winter, So Let’s Move
We are knee-deep in the midst of winter and all we really want to do is curl up on the couch, turn on the fireplace, drink a hot toddy and binge on Netflix or read a good book. Does that sound familiar to you?
We totally get it and are right there with you, up until the point that doing this more frequently than not means we have to cut back on what we eat and drink to avoid the Winter-15 (that’s like the adult version of the Freshman-15). No way is lack of moving and too much hibernating worth the dreaded extra work and adjustments when spring is around the corner. In probably four to five weeks, we are going to start thinking about thawing out and getting outside. We were having dinner with a friend recently and were talking about getting some kind of exercise in each week during these cold days and she gave us a pretty typical response to our statement of “why don’t you watch Netflix while you’re on your treadmill in the basement?”. She laughed, “because it is way more cozy to watch Netflix curled up in my recliner”! Again, sound familiar?!!
So, let’s get moving a little bit this winter; it is almost over! We have a few ideas that you can start tackling this weekend.
We know it’s cold outside, but we do have some days that the sun shines and it’s about 30-40 degrees, which we consider a heat wave here in the North. So, put a scarf on, button up the jacket, grab a hat and gloves and don’t forget warm socks! Get outside and enjoy the crisp,fresh air. We are so lucky to get a nice sunny day that is relatively warm, yet still has that winter freshness and crispness to it. Breathe it in, feel the sun warm you. And just imagine that it’s (almost) like lying on the beach!
Our favorite benefits of walking outside:
You will get a huge dose of vitamin D. Did you know: Vitamin D will help to maintain the health of bones and teeth; support the health of the immune system, brain, and nervous system; regulate insulin levels and aid diabetes management; support lung function and cardiovascular health; and influence the expression of genes involved in cancer development?
Weight management: In a report from Harvard Medical School Even a quick one-minute jaunt pays off. A University of Utah study in 2014 found that for every minute of brisk walking that women did throughout the day, they lowered their risk of obesity by 5%.
Improve your mood: walking can play a major role in your overall mood as it helps to boost endorphins, or “feel‐good” chemicals in the brain. A boost in these endorphins after exercise, essentially provides you with a feeling of euphoria.
Improves digestion: Two different studies have shown that a post-meal walk can aid in digestion. One study in 2008 showed that walking sped up the rate at which food moved through the stomach. Other studies have shown that walking also decreases blood sugar after meals, which decreases cardiovascular risk and potential signal diabetes.
Boosts immunity: Taking a moderately-paced walk for between 30 and 45 minutes daily was found to increase the amount of immune system cells that were present in the body. The levels of immunity boosters remained elevated for several hours after exercise and appear to have a cumulative effect in protecting against illnesses over time. 1
Delays Aging: Walking improves cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, vascular stiffness and inflammation, and mental stress. And if cardiac health and a lower death rate are not enough to get you on your feet, consider that walking also helps protect against dementia, peripheral artery disease, depression and colon cancer. 2
Increases creativity: Creative thinking improves while a person is walking and shortly thereafter. The act of walking itself, and not the environment, was the main factor. Across the board, creativity levels were consistently and significantly higher for those walking compared to those sitting.
Increases productivity: Scientists have shown repeatedly that people who exercise feel more alert, confident, and energetic compared to couch potatoes. They also could cope better with their workload compared to days they didn’t fit in a 30-minute walk.
Yoga is an ancient practice that blends the mind and the body that combines breathing and body movements to help reduce stress and encourages relaxation with the added bonus of physical exercise. Yoga helps you find a center of peace and to be present in the moment, while also allowing you to improve your flexibility, quality of sleep, and weight loss! Total wins! There are so many benefits to yoga, but our two top favorites are reducing stress and aiding in PTSD.
The research is plentiful, and growing, supporting why yoga can bring so much enrichment into your life (1, 2, 3). As an added bonus, you can literally use a towel as your mat and do yoga in virtually any space. So find an empty corner of the house or apartment and get your practice on!
Here are a few of our favorite yoga practices you can flow along with for free. But there are so many out there, just open up Youtube and type in Yoga, bamn you will get endless options.
Create your own workout or even a HIIT using props in your house.
There are endless pieces of furniture or props right inside your house, you don’t even have to go outside to work out. First, what is a HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training. As its name suggests, the workout involves various intervals – usually of high intensity – ensuring you get a maximum benefit from your workout. HIIT boosts your metabolism while burns tons of calories in a short period of time. These are only few of the many benefits you can earn through HIIT. The specific amount of time you exercise and recover will vary based on the activity you choose and how intensely you are exercising. Regardless of how it is implemented, high-intensity intervals should involve short periods of vigorous exercise that make your heart rate speed up and then shorter periods of rest. A typical ratio would be 30 seconds of intense movement and 20 seconds of rest or 20 seconds of intense movement and 20 seconds of rest. You can also do this number of repetitions. For example, 30 jumping jacks and then rest for one full minute.
Whether you choose to do the “create your own” as high intensity intervals or regular repetitions, it really is the no -excuse workout. Even 5 minutes of this will get your juices flowing and get your metabolism in gear.
Here are some of our favorite exercises we have made up:
Use the stairs: they are right there in front of you. Most of us have stairs in our house or apartments. Play a game of switching between stepping up 1 step at a time, then the next flight up- take two stairs at a time, the next time go backwards up the stairs, or even sideways. Have fun!
Use the lower ledge of the fireplace or a bench or low table (as long as it is stable). Do step ups. Step up with the right leg first for 15 repetitions then switch to the left leg, do this series 3 times.
Use a chair or couch. Do squats. Literally squat down barely touching the chair or couch with your butt and then stand right back up. Do this 20 times, then repeat for a total of 3 times.
Wood floor? Great, put those socks on and do some tummy tucks. Get on all fours in a table top position, position yourself with your feet up on your toes, then shift your feet backwards (slide them really) until you are in a plank position then pull your feet back into a table top position. Do this 25 times, then repeat for a total of 3 series.
Use a railing or the back of a chair and do some leg lifts. Standing straight up, lift the right leg back 15 times, then lift it out to the right 15 times. Switch to the left leg and do the same movements. Then repeat each side 2 more times.
Enjoy a Barre video using the chair or railing or counter top. The focus of Barre, compared to weight training, is isometric movements, which fatigue the muscles and promote toning and elongating in a fast, effective way. Here are a few favorites
Our bodies are designed to move, and to move a lot, in many different ways. So it’s time to stop making excuses because of the weather and to get moving again! Beach season is sooner than you think! ;)