Winter is a time when most people want to curl up under a blanket or next to a roaring fire. While both are toasty, they don’t do much good for your cardiovascular system. Good cardiovascular health leads to longer life, better cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and improved circulation. So instead of just curling up with a good book (or the TV remote), try some of these winter activities to get your heart pumping.
Get Your Heart Pumping
Once the white, flaky snow falls, pull out the coat, hat, scarf, gloves, and trusty snow shovel and head out to get the heart pumping while clearing your driveway and sidewalks. Be sure to stay hydrated while working and take breaks to avoid giving your heart too much of a workout.
Build a Snowman (or Woman)
Get your friends and family together to build an awesome snowman (or snowwoman…or a whole snow family!). This activity keeps the blood pumping while encouraging a sense of community and camaraderie. Once you’re done with the snowperson building, have a snowball fight to burn more calories.
Tobogganing (or Sledding)
Taking a toboggan or sled and sliding down a hill may not quite sound like exercise, but it actually does count. The climb up the hill will get the heart pumping, and engaging the abs and leg muscles while sitting on the sled burns calories as you slide down the hill.
Whether you visit a natural body of water or an ice skating rink, slap on a pair of skates and practice your best figure skating or hockey moves. Skating not only increases cardiovascular levels, but also uses various muscle groups in the body, giving you a well-rounded workout. Just make sure the natural lakes are frozen deep enough to avoid breaking through ice.
Skiing, like skating, is an all-body exercise. The poles engage arm and shoulder muscles, while the side-to-side lower body movements as you slide down the ski slope work the abdominal and leg muscles. This helps increase your muscle strength while providing a great cardiovascular workout. As you ride the lift up to the slopes, give your emotional and spiritual sides a chance to blossom as you enjoy the amazing scenery around you.
Walk the Dog
Yep, walking Fido gets the blood pumping, especially if you own a winter breed such as a Husky or Great Pyrenees. These breeds especially thrive in cold weather and will joyfully join you on a walk (or pull, depending on the dog’s enthusiasm) around the block or the park. This give you the chance to breathe in the cold winter air, burn some calories, and do your heart some good while bonding with man’s best friend.
Don’t have a dog? Grab a friend or loved ones and have them join you for a trip or two around the block instead. The company helps keep your mind off the temperatures.
Take Care in the Cold Winter Air
While having fun playing (and getting a great cardiovascular workout) this winter, remember some of the advice given by the American Heart Association and the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Dress Warm and Cool Down
Make sure to dress warmly in layers to prevent problems with your health due to exposure to the weather. Also, when you come inside, so long as you are not sweating, give yourself about 10-15 minutes to let your body adjust to the warmer air. Removing clothing too quickly can result in post-exercise hypothermia, which is the body reducing its heat production while losing existing heat stores.
With the cooler, and often drier, air, you might not feel as thirsty in winter. But make sure to continue drinking fluids even while enjoying your favorite winter activity. Dehydration is no picnic in any season!
Play During the Day
Whenever possible, try to enjoy your favorite winter activities while the sun is shining (or the light is out on a cloudy day). It’s safer to have light while getting the blood pumping. If you must walk or shovel snow at night, make sure to wear reflective materials on your clothing to stay safe.
As you enjoy your favorite winter activities, remember to take time to ensure your body functions at its optimal level. Visit your chiropractor regularly for adjustments so that you get the most out of your cold weather fun. Call Pure Family Chiropractic to set up your next adjustment today.