by Learning Department

February 01, 2022

Winter Wellness: Fitness Tips for Frosty Feelings

I grew up in a small town in central Massachusetts. Our house was at the top of an old ski-hill. The minute snowflakes started to fall, we grabbed everything we could to slide down the hill. Thinking back it was freezing cold most of the time, but the four of us were focused on fun. When we grew to teenagers, my parents (father, really...) bought a couple of used snowmobiles. I won’t tell what chaos we created. There was plenty of fitness and wellness work for my father pulling us out of ditches and for us climbing up and down the hill. 

I live in Indiana now and I don’t have big hills in my suburban yard. The grey, cold winter can be isolating and depressing. Darkness comes quickly most days. It’s easy to feel out of sorts for everybody. Add COVID quarantine and you get a big box of de-motivation.

We all have jumped into winter exercise or health programs, and many drop out quickly. Remember, there is no shame in stopping and starting...just reboot and congratulate yourself on jumping back in. Here’s a realistic list to choose from by Amanda Bireline from the National Institute for Fitness and Sports.

#1 Work out

Working out helps your immune system (think COVID).

#2 Clean Eating

Carbs (sugars) of all kinds are hard to resist and being quarantined makes it tempting to grab an unhealthy snack. Get them out of your house and treat yourself occassionally.

# 3 Water is always your friend, even in the cold. 

Keep a water bottle handy at your desk and create goals for how much water you need each day. 

# 4 Dress Warmly

If your East or North, you have great clothes, hats, and boots for dressing warmly. In Indy this time of year, you’re probably looking for the gloves you had somewhere. Keep walking, cover your head, and dress well to avoid catching a cold. Here’s a tip for winter workouts: https://www.nifs.org/blog-0/8-essential-winter-clothing-pieces-for-runners-and-walkers .

# 5 Get Some Sun

What!?!? It’s freezing out there! If you stay in the house, you’ll start losing your Vitamin D. If there’s a nicer day, get outside, or if you are able, plan a little vacation where there’s a sunny, warm beach. Just don't forget your sunscreen!

# 6 Wash your Hands

No, not just dump them in water for a minute – wash your hands means soap and water. I recommend the Sesame Street ‘Wash Your Hands’ dance with all your favorite characters: https://youtu.be/ojI46TakX3A

#7 Set a Goal for Spring

Make a chart of things you want to do when Spring arrives. Look forward!

# 8 Get a trainer or workout buddy

It hard to be accountable when you are by yourself. Knowing that someone is noticing your wellness is a wonderful thing. Likely you will be helping the other person just as much.

# 9 Pay more attention to what goes in your mouth

Cold, grey days can be depressing, and it’s easy to console yourself with calories. Come up with small projects that don’t require eating to feel good about yourself. Even puzzles and crosswords can help.

# 10 Love yourself

This is a tough one, right? It can seem a little pompous to say or even think things like this but it’s important and hard to hold yourself up. Here’s a little mantra that I use. I tee this up as my PURPOSE. When I am feeling down, I can remind myself of my purpose by saying this to myself. Feel free to substitute your own verbs and noun to create the right PURPOSE for your world.

Here’s mine: I Ignite (verb), Affirm (verb), and Sustain (verb) Learning (noun)

 

Remember to take care of yourself as the days get brighter and the world turns again. 

“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”

— Yoko Ono

Learning Department

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