Health Department

Staying Active in the Winter

Staying Active in the Winter
by Larry D. Jones, MPH, Health Director
December 10, 2013

We all know how important being physically active is to our overall health. However, when the skies are cloudy, the temperatures are low, the wind is cold, it’s dark when you wake up in the morning, and it’s dark when you get home at night, it’s easy to say “I’ll just work out tomorrow.” But even in these cold months, it is important to get your body moving.

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises are needed each week to improve and maintain your health.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity each week, along with muscle strengthening exercises at least two days a week.

You might be thinking, 2 hours and 30 minutes is a lot to squeeze into many of our busy schedules, but it doesn’t have to be done all at once. As long as you're doing your activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time, it can count toward your 2 hours and 30 minutes per week.

As a City, Independence has many great programs for citizens to utilize in order to stay physically active. The Roger T. Sermon Center and Truman Memorial Building both offer a variety of fitness classes for both youth and adults. For our citizens age 50 or older, the Palmer Center is an excellent facility that offers fitness programs, health programs and much more.

If you would rather stay at home, a great way to get some activity in is while watching your favorite TV shows. Instead of fast-forwarding through the commercials, repeat the following circuit until your show starts up again or try to reach that 10-minute mark. Any version of the activity that you can handle is great to get you up and moving.

Another option is to bundle up and head outside despite the cold. Did you know that building a snowman burns about 140 calories per half hour? Some other fun, outside winter activities to enjoy are building a fire, having a snowball fight, ice skating, shoveling snow, skiing, snowboarding, or sledding. These activities can burn anywhere from 80 to 250 calories per half hour.

Remember, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you are get your heart rate up and get yourself moving.

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