American adults gain an average of 5-7 pounds during the winter months, partly due to increased calorie consumption, and partly due to the lack of exercise. It’s challenging to stay fit when it gets dark early and the weather is often inclement, but we have a few tips to help you stay fit over the next few months (and you don’t even have to join a gym!)
1) Take up planking.
Planking involves holding a push-up-like position for as long as possible. It doesn’t require any equipment, and it only takes a few minutes a day to get the maximum benefit. In addition to burning calories, planking strengthens your core, tones your arms and legs, and improves your posture. (Click here for an easy five-minute planking workout!)
2) Do your own housekeeping.
We know life is busy and household chores like vacuuming and mopping are easy to ignore or outsource to paid cleaning professionals. But doing household chores yourself can be beneficial!
For starters, living in a clean home has positive psychological effects, because it decreases stress and makes it easier for you and your family to relax.
Cleaning also offers several health benefits. It decreases household germs, helping you and your loved ones stay healthy during the winter months. And it burns calories! Mopping and vacuuming burn 170 calories/hour. Add in dusting, folding laundry, ironing, and watering plants, and in a short time, you can burn as many calories as you would have at the gym. Check out this natural surface cleaner for a healthy house!
3) Go to the mall.
The mall is one of the best places to get your 10,000 steps a day in during the winter months. And, unlike the gym, it’s free! For a person who weighs 200 pounds, walking at a 4-mph pace can burn 340 calories! Just make sure to avoid high-calorie temptations at the food court, and leave your credit cards at home if you’re tempted to “exercise” your wallet too much.
4) Take the stairs.
Whether you’re at the airport, the office, a parking garage, your apartment, a hotel, or a shopping center, choosing to take the stairs rather than taking the elevator or escalator can have big benefits! Stair climbing improves cardiovascular health and tones your calf and thigh muscles. It burns calories, too (a person weighing 175 pounds burns 21 calories climbing stairs for two minutes.)
In addition to climbing the stairs in the course of everyday activities, consider doing a stair-climbing workout during your lunch break or during your kids’ after-school activities to reap even more fitness rewards! Staying active will also help you prevent common winter injuries from other activities like shoveling.
5) Play fitness video games.
Fitness video games offer a relatively inexpensive, convenient, and fun way to stay fit during the winter months. You can make fitness a family affair by challenging family members to play with you. Whether you’re virtually dancing, running, flying, cycling, or racing through an obstacle course, you can burn calories together while avoiding inclement weather and gym fees, and enjoying family time (and some healthy competition!)
We're here if you need us
At GoHealth Urgent Care, our goal is to help our patients stay as healthy and happy as possible! We’re open seven days a week to care for you. If you have a minor injury or illness, don’t put off getting the care you need. We offer an easy check-in process and online registration. Just walk in or save your spot online.
Written by Sarah Thebarge, Physician Assistant