Braving the Cold - Tips for Staying Active in the Winter
Iowa winter weather can make it difficult to stay active; but keeping up your exercise regimen can be extra rewarding. Exercise bolsters your immune system and increases your energy. Studies show that moderate exercisers get 20 to 30 percent fewer colds than those who do not exercise. Outdoor exercise is also a sure cure for cabin fever!
There are many options to stay active when it gets chilly out. Here are some for the “indoor route.” • Walk in a Mall. Grab a few friends and create a walking group for motivation. • Join a local health club. This will allow you a variety of activities to choose from. • Create a home gym. This doesn’t have to be expensive. You can setup a great workout routine with just a set of dumbbells, an exercise ball and jump rope. • Use nearby stairs. Jog up and down the stairs for an intense workout. • Find an indoor pool. Swimming, water aerobics or just walking or running laps in the water can be a great workout, especially for those needing a low-impact routine. • This is a great time to start using those videos you have. Pick a new workout video each week to keep your routine fresh and keep you motivated! • This is also a great time to take up yoga. If you are unsure about starting on your own, check with many of our great local yoga classes and find one that will work for you!
Then there’s the great outdoors! • Take a brisk walk or jog in the cool air. As long as you take proper clothing precautions and it’s more than 18 degrees outside, of course! • Shoveling snow is a great total body workout. • Slope skiing, cross country skiing and snowboarding are great exercises to try. Consult an instructor beforehand. • Build a snowman and make some angels. This is fun for the whole family. • Our area has an abundance of snow hills and ice skating rinks. Bring our your inner child and grab a sled or pair of skates!
Before you begin: • Check with your doctor. Almost everyone can exercise safely in the cold, including people with heart and asthma conditions, but you should always consult with your physician before starting a workout routine. • Protect your extremities. Try wearing a thin pair of gloves, under a pair of heavier gloves. Buy exercise shoes a half-size larger to allow room for socks. Don’t forget the hat, headband and/or facemask; 30 to 40 percent of your body heat is lost through your head. • Layer it on! Exercise generates a considerable amount of heat that can make you feel like it is 30 degrees warmer than it really is. Dress in layers that you can remove when you start to sweat and can put back on as needed. • Know the wind chill factor. Wind can penetrate your clothes and remove the insulating layer of warm air that surrounds your body.
Remember, everything you do counts. Every activity counts in your quest to stay fit and flexible in body and mind. Whether you’re getting your exercise in the toasty warmth of your own home, or braving the elements for activities you can only do when the temperatures drop, it’s best to get your blood pumping every day. With a positive attitude and a little creativity, you can make the winter months an enjoyable season for making new friends and trying new activities.
Outdoor skating rinks: •Arthur School Rink - closes at 10pm 2630 B Ave NE, Cedar Rapids •Bever Park Rink - closes at 10pm 2700 Bever Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
Sledding: •Noelridge Park 4900 Council St. NE, Cedar Rapids •Cherry Hill Park 341 Stoney Point Rd. NW, Cedar Rapids •Ellis Park 916 Ellis Blvd. NW, Cedar Rapids •Bever Park & Old McDonalds Farm 2700 Bever Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids •Prairie Park Fishery 2125 Otis Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids •Jones Park 201 Wilson Ave SW, Cedar Rapids •Thomas Park 335 Marion Blvd, Marion •Taube Park 2200 31st St., Marion •Pinicon Ridge Park 4729 Horseshoe Falls Rd, Central City 319.438.6616 •Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area 4530 McClintock Rd., Palo 319.436.7716 •Napoleon Park 2501 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City