10 Tips to STAYING Physically Active – Even in Winter

1. Enjoy yourself! The perfect activity is that which is fun and enjoyable to you, and makes you forget about the fact that you are even exercising. If you are active, but aren’t enjoying it, it’s time to shop around for a more suitable activity.

2. Everyone has good days and bad days. On the days that you feel sluggish, don’t set yourself up to fail. Try a little warm-up activity (stretching) and if you don’t feel any better soon after, leave it for that day. However, move more on the days when you feel great. Take advantage of any little surges of energy that you have and get moving!

3. If winter is getting you down, dress for the weather. Put cleats on your boots, and carry ski poles for security on the snow and ice. Unless the weather is very bad, you will keep quite warm by moving, and the weather is not as bad as it looks once you get out there.

4. If you do get "stuck" indoors, follow an exercise class on television, or make your own routine up to some of your favorite music. Walk "laps" in your residence, even if you feel a bit silly. Going up and down flights of stairs is very good for maintaining your fitness level. March or dance on the spot if you don’t have a lot of room to move in your apartment.

5. Go to the local mall, church or school and walk "laps" indoors.

6. Getting into the habit of exercising is good, but you can get bored from doing the same thing day after day. Try a different activity once in a while – most activity programs will let you try out the first class for free.

7. If you have an arthritis flare-up, or a bad joint acts up, work around it and move all your good parts. There is no point in letting the rest of your body get laid up too!


Staying Physically Active in Winter

8. Reward yourself for being active. Set short and long term goals, and plan a "reward" for achieving that goal.

9. Help someone else get started in active living. Ask a neighbour if they would join you for a walk. If all active seniors helped one inactive senior get started, about 80% of all older Canadians would be in great shape!

10. If you have a health set-back, talk to your doctor about alternatives to medication. Perhaps a regular exercise session would be a better place to start addressing the problem (i.e. poor sleep, depression, aches and pains).

Reprinted with permission from the Alberta Centre for Active Living (ACAL). The ACAL is a key advocate of physical activity and physical activity expertise, and a primary source of research and education on physical activity for practitioners, organizations and decision-makers. The Centre's mandate is to improve the health and quality of life for all people through physical activity.  For more information visit: http://www.centre4activeliving.ca/index.html


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