“Winter Fitness Fun,” Ensign, Jan. 2005, 72–73
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.
Chalyce Petersen-Nöllsch, 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.