Everyday exercise tips for winter


COMMENTARY by Jessica Swenberg, MD, IU Health Physicians Family Medicine – Zionsville


If you find yourself slacking off on your New Year’s resolution to exercise, there are some great ways to stay fit indoors that don’t require an expensive gym membership. Even during the winter months when it’s harder to stay active, it’s important to keep moving. To stay healthy and fit, adults are strongly encouraged to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise three to five times a week.

With a little creativity, you can easily work fitness into your daily activities. At work, bypass the elevator and take the stairs. If you’re running errands, park your car at the far end of the parking lot and take advantage of a longer walk to the door.

Household chores also provide fitness opportunities. Turn on some music and move more while you’re vacuuming. If your home has stairs, be deliberate about making multiple trips up and down them. Carrying a loaded laundry basket up the stairs can help tone arms and provide cardiovascular benefits.

Do you watch TV at night? Do sit-ups, push-ups or other floor exercises while catching up on your favorite shows. To increase fitness, there are also some worthwhile and affordable exercise and toning DVDs on the market. Try a new one – maybe explore yoga or Pilates – every few weeks if you get bored. Another way to exercise indoors is to jump rope in the garage or basement. Use the internet or consult your local newspaper to find inexpensive exercise classes. Many fitness centers offer low-cost classes with no monthly or long-term commitment.

As we know, Indiana weather in February and March can be fickle – warm one day and cold the next. Even when temperatures are in the 20s and 30s, you can layer clothing and take a brisk walk outdoors. As long as there is no risk of falling due to ice or snow, walking in the winter is a beneficial way to get your recommended weekly exercise. Consider making walking or fitness dates with a friend; you’ll be less likely to skip out on exercise if you have a standing appointment.


Jessica Swenberg, MD, specializes in family medicine. She is a guest columnist located at IU Health Physicians Family Medicine, 55 Brendon Way, Ste. 800, in Zionsville. She can be reached by at 777-6400.

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