Those who do not live day to day through a U.P. winter might say that the Upper Peninsula looks like a picturesque winter wonderland! But among the wild beauty comes days without sunshine, extra work with every task due to snow, being chilled to the bone regularly, and threatening-stressful driving conditions. It is no wonder we get demotivated to be active in winter. We are usually exhausted by 5:30 pm when it looks like it's midnight outside. Snuggling by the fire and watching a movie sounds more inviting after a full day of winter survival than putting on layers and snow bibs to go outside for physical health and well-being.
However, if you can get a 10-minute workout in or get on one of the many beautiful trails around us to snowshoe or cross country ski, you will feel a change inside yourself almost immediately.
Fresh air and physical activity are some of the best ways to improve your mental and physical health. Physical activity raises endorphins which boost your mood and energy and even act as a treatment for mild to moderate depression and anxiety. Be Active l Get Sweaty l Feel Great l Repeat
Why is physical activity so important for health and well-being?
Exercise and movement deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle day-to-day life.
Being more active can help you:
- lower your blood pressure
- boost your levels of good cholesterol
- Improve your balance
- improve blood flow (circulation)
- keep your weight under control
- Lower your risk of type 2 diabetes
- Lower risk of many types of cancer
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Maintain or lose weight
- Keep your mind sharp
- Research shows it boosts your immune function
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. You can knock that out in just five days a week for 30 minutes a day. And every minute of moderate to vigorous activity counts toward your goal.
What are health-benefiting activities you can do in winter months?
- Youtube workouts indoors
- ice skating
- Use the stairs anywhere instead of the elevator
- Make the most of tv time and put the tube in front of your stationary bike or treadmill
- Shoveling snow
- Cross country ski
- Use the Wellness Center at Helen Newberry Joy Hospital
Let's get out there and move more, with more intensity, and sit less. You don’t have to make big life changes to see the benefits. Just start building more activity into your day, one step at a time.