6 Winter Fitness Tips for People of All Abilities
By Guest Blogger James Richardson, Health and Wellness Coordinator
Though it was off to a slow start, winter is officially here. And let’s face it; it’s easy to shift into hibernation mode. However, that won’t help keep us in optimal health. Though we tend to slow down in the winter months there is an easy way to keep things moving: Weather permitting – take a vigorous walk! Walk indoors or outdoors when conditions allow. Twenty to thirty minutes a day of walking has been shown to help:
- Manage weight
- Increases cardiovascular health (heart health)
- Improve circulation
- Improve cognitive function (brain function)
- Improve blood sugar levels (reducing risk for diabetes)
- Reduce blood lipid levels (fat in the blood)
- Boost our mood and sense of wellbeing
- Improve sleep
Everyone Benefits from a Walk!
Movement can be as unique as each individual. Creating a walking or any fitness plan just for you is what makes it work, regardless of physical limitations. Do you use a wheel chair or walker? Perfect! You have the potential to get the benefit of upper body development (strength) and core strength. When going for a walk, sit or stand tall and keep your belly strong by pulling your belly button in tight while still being able to breathe comfortably. Focus your movements using arms, shoulders, chest and abdominal (stomach muscles) to enjoy all the same benefits of walking.
Yes it’s cold, so bundle up and dress in layers. On sunny days in particular, get outside. It’s not a bad idea to pause and let the sun shine on your face to get a little Vitamin D and help boost your mood. Sunshine = Feel Good!
Five more tips to enjoy physical activity and walking during the winter:
- Map out a safe walking route and if walking alone be sure someone is familiar with your walking route.
- While walking in your neighborhood, build a sense of community by saying hello to your neighbors. Who knows? Maybe they would like to join you.
- Nothing beats the serenity of nature. Enjoy walks at your local park for the added benefits of stress relief.
- OK too cold? Take advantage of your local supermarket or mall and walk laps around the indoor parameter.
- Do you enjoy a fitness center membership? Ask your local gym to seek out personal fitness instructors that are trained to work with specials needs populations for added support.
Have any other suggestions? Leave them in the comments!
About the author:
James Richardson, Health and Wellness Coordinator for Easter Seals NJ’s Be Well & Thrive Program, has an Associate Degree in Applied Health Studies and is a Certified Health & Wellness Coach. He received his training from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition through Columbia University Teachers College and is accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. An American Council of Exercise (ACE) Certified Personal Trainer and Behavior Change Specialist, James brings innovation and strategies for success to the Health and Wellness Education programs for consumers and support staff of Easter Seals New Jersey. Additionally, James is a Registered Yoga Alliance yoga teacher and a NJ State Licensed Massage Therapist.