Winter Fitness Fun
While many of us may be good warm-weather exercisers, statistics suggest that about one-third of us are almost completely inactive during the winter months. Yet we know that in order to care for our bodies we need exercise year-round. Exercise reduces anxiety and depression, helps increase our body’s resistance to illness, and provides a host of other benefits. Having worked in the fitness industry for over eight years, I enjoy sharing inexpensive, creative exercise ideas with others so their activity level doesn’t go dormant during the cold winter months.
Have a snowball shot-put contest; go sledding (and hike up that hill!); go snowshoeing or on a winter hike; try “snow running,” following someone else’s footprints; have mock-Olympic figure-skating contests at a local rink; or make “snow pets” or “snow people” to represent each member of your family. Doing a variety of exercises with others will help you stay motivated.
Activities for One
Take the stairs to your office or apartment, exercise to a fitness video (or better yet, play a favorite music CD and you be your own fitness instructor), walk inside a local shopping mall or school, or use household items to do resistance training (for example, bags of rice or beans can serve as weights, or you can do push-ups against the wall).
President David O. McKay (1873–1970) counseled us that “the healthy man, who takes care of his physical being, has strength and vitality; his temple is a fit place for his spirit to reside” (“The ‘Whole’ Man,” Improvement Era, Apr. 1952, 221). Like the physical temples we build, our bodies require year-round maintenance and attention.
, Falcon Park Ward, Highlands Ranch Colorado Stake
Winter Exercise Preparation Checklist
Before starting any exercise program, consult your physician if you have health concerns.
Spend extra time warming up and cooling down. Gradually increase your heart rate and warm up your muscles. Cool down with lots of gentle stretches to prevent injury.
Drink lots of water. Dehydration in the winter can be common because you don’t necessarily feel thirsty. Drink at least 8 to 10 ounces of water about 15 minutes before you exercise, and continue to drink during and after your workout.
Layer your clothing if you will be exercising outside. The first layer should be a synthetic material that wicks sweat and moisture away from your body. The next layer should insulate, like wool or fleece. Your outer layer should protect you from the elements.
Add other protection as needed. Cover your head. As much as 40 percent of your body heat escapes through your head. Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and lip balm.
My Achievement Journal
For years, setting and keeping New Year’s resolutions was difficult for me. But then I discovered that by first keeping a journal of my accomplishments I could build on my successes and set goals for what I wanted to achieve next. With a notebook or journal to write in or a computer to key in your thoughts, you can do the same.
Just think back over your life and write down the events or accomplishments that brought you peace, courage, and confidence. Don’t eliminate anything that comes to mind. If it was important to you, write it down. Feel free to organize your journal any way you want. Then keep your record in an accessible place where you can easily record any subsequent meaningful events.
Review your journal frequently to remember what accomplishments you have achieved. As your list grows, look for areas where you feel ready to stretch a bit more. For instance, if you walked every day for the past several months, why not set a goal to enter a local 5K run/walk?
The important idea is to focus on our achievements, no matter how small. By focusing on our successes, we can set goals and achieve all that our Father in Heaven would have us do in this life.
, Davis Creek Second Ward, Farmington Utah South Stake
Family Home Evening Helps: Family Home Evening with Baby
After our daughter, Ella, was born, my husband and I started holding family home evening when she was asleep so we could discuss an adult lesson. But without our baby there, our family felt incomplete. We’ve since learned how to plan activities suited especially for babies and toddlers so we can all share the fun and learning.
1. Use music. Even infants respond to music, particularly when it’s sung by familiar voices. Sing favorite hymns and Primary songs, or play instrumental versions. Older toddlers can learn simple hand motions to songs like “Popcorn Popping” (Children’s Songbook, 242–43).
2. Display gospel-themed pictures. For a simple, toddler-friendly lesson, show a painting of the Savior and say, “This is Jesus. He loves you.” Talking about pictures of the Prophet Joseph Smith, President Gordon B. Hinckley, or a temple can help toddlers learn gospel truths.
3. Visit the temple. If you live near a temple, explore the grounds with your children as you speak reverently of the temple. Doing so will help them associate the temple with peaceful feelings. A visit to other Church sites might serve a similar purpose.
4. Teach stories creatively. Our two-year-old enjoyed making simple paper-bag puppets of Jonah and the whale, which my husband and I used to act out the story. Dolls or flannel-board figures can also help teach scripture stories.
5. Share Heavenly Father’s creations. Rub a feather or a blade of grass across your baby’s cheek, or help him or her taste snow for the first time. Explain that the Lord made the world and everything in it because He loves us.
It may be a few years before our toddler can sit still for a more traditional lesson and activity. For now, these simple teaching ideas help us share with her our love of the gospel as we establish a pattern of holding regular family home evenings together.
, Cotton Manor Ward, St. George Utah Pine View Stake