When it’s the dead of winter and arthritis symptoms are at their peak, the last thing you want to do is walk on a treadmill or take a brisk walk around the block. You most likely want to sit inside where it’s warm and rest your joints. A lot of people who don’t have arthritis don’t even want to stay active during the winter so why should someone with arthritis?
Unfortunately, as you age you begin to lose muscle and bone mass and you may start to develop joint problems and arthritis. If you stay active you will strengthen your bones and muscles and you may even develop more range of motion in your joints. In addition you may also reduce the risk of serious injuries.
Overall, staying fit works more effectively as a preventative treatment. You want to be active so that you can remain active. If you don’t exercise or if you aren’t staying fit you’ll be at a much greater risk of developing problems such as obesity, decrease in muscle density, decrease in bone density and so on. These issues are key factors that may lead to arthritis and joint pain.
Everyone wants to stay active. We’ve all heard about someone who’s new years resolution was to lose weight and to go to the gym more, just so that person can give up in a few weeks. It really is difficult. However, here’s 10 things you can do today that may help you stay active during the long, cold, winter months!
1) Walk off Arthritis
Don’t set goals so high that they become unachievable or painful. Start by going for a walk around the block. You don’t need to be sweating heavily or losing your breath to see positive effects of staying active.
2) Hit the Slopes
November through March is most likely the only time you’ll be able to be in the snow. Take advantage of this. It’s the only time of the year to enjoy winter sports. Did you used to love skiing? Perhaps it’s not too late to get out the old skis and hit the bunny slopes. Winter sports are a great way to stay fit while you’re having fun.
3) Take Advantage of the Conditions
Going for a walk around the block may be way too easy for some people during the warmer months. However, walking around the block in the snow during the winter months isn’t quite as easy. Walking in the snow will be more strenuous and provide more health benefits than walking any other time of the year. Also walking in the snow may spice up your usual routine.
4) Go Play Outside
If you have children or grandchildren, a great way to stay active during the winter is to play in the snow. My children visit Dallas Tennis Lessons and sometimes take me! It’s really fun and helps with the pain. Take the kids outside and help them build a snowman, take them sledding or just go for a walk with them in the snow. You’ll burn calories and you’ll be able to spend time with your younger family members!
5) Learn Something New
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t meant you have to remain indoors. Head to the gym and find a new class to sign up for. Maybe you always wanted to try kickboxing. Perhaps you heard about the health benefits of yoga. The cold winter months are a great time to pursue a new interest. It’s never too late.
6) Home Gym
If the weather is so bad that you can’t leave your home, then you have no excuse not to try a home workout. Almost everyone has a computer and almost everyone has high speed internet. You can search “home exercise for beginners” and follow along on your laptop. You don’t have to pay for a fancy gym membership to stay active.
7) Finish the Housework
Sometimes just the things we do everyday, like cleaning, have healthy benefits. Maybe you have a spare bedroom that has become more of a storage room. If you have been wanting to clean out the room then do it for your health. Lifting, bending, flexing, stretching and walking are all things that have health benefits.
8) Shovel for the Neighbors
Shoveling the snow is very tiresome and may be considered a total body workout. You’re pushing and lifting over and over again. You’re using your arms, legs, back and chest to remove all of the snow. The next best thing to shoveling your own snow is to take it to the next level and shovel your neighbors snow. Your joints will thank you in the long run.
9) Go Shopping
Believe it or not, there are definitely health benefits to shopping. During the holiday season, and the cold months when everyone is out shopping, you may not get the closest parking spot to the door. In fact during a long day of shopping you may walk over a mile. You walk to your car, walk to the entrance of the mall, walk to the store in the mall, you walk within the store, then you walk to another store, etc. All of the steps add up and all of the steps are great ways to stay active.
10) Help Someone in Need
The winter months and the holidays go hand in hand. This year if you are going to volunteer, perhaps you can choose an organization that requires some physical activity. Even helping at a local soup kitchen requires you to walk around, lift, bend etc. These are all great ways you are helping yourself as well as others.