Working out when the temperatures are cold and the weather turns wintry is pretty much the last thing a lot of us want to do. This time of year, it seems far more attractive to stay cozied up under blankets than it does to get out there and stay active. However, cardiovascular health doesn’t take a break, and that means you shouldn’t take a break when it comes to caring for it, either. If you’re struggling to stay active this winter, here are a few ideas to get a little more physical activity into your daily life without going too far out of your way.
Parking Further Away
If you usually search for the parking spot closest to the door this time of year, challenge yourself to park a little further away. This goes for everywhere you might travel. Your office building, the grocery store, out to dinner, shopping, you name it. Wherever there’s a parking lot, you have the opportunity to add a few steps and a little more heart health into your day by parking a few spaces further away.
If colder outdoor temperatures are getting in the way of your typical hikes and outdoor runs, consider taking your heart health indoors. Running on a track can get old and the elliptical only does so much for you after a while, but swimming in an indoor pool is a phenomenal full-body workout that can keep your senses engaged, your core temperature-controlled, and your heart pumping in the best way possible. Swimming is a fantastic cardio workout, and hey, you can even bribe yourself with a dip in the hot tub when your workout is done to sweeten the deal.
Walk the Mall
Similar to walking around a track, but free if you don’t have a gym membership (and if you can avoid the temptation of window shopping), walking the mall is an excellent way to keep your steps up, your heart in shape, and your blood pumping. Going first thing in the morning is one of the best times to avoid the crowds and walk your way.
Take the Stairs
Look, we know it’s not always fun, especially when the elevator is right there, but taking the stairs is a very easy way to get some cardio into your daily routine and keep you physically active when you might otherwise not be. If you work a desk job where you’re sitting most of the day anyway, we cannot recommend this one enough. Take the stairs to get to your office, and consider taking a few flights a few times over lunch for an added boost of energy to carry you through the afternoon slump, too.
Use Commercial Time
Unfortunately, getting worked up about your favorite show doesn’t quite count as physical activity (even if it feels like it should sometimes). However, you can utilize the commercial breaks in your TV time to add in some physical activity. When a commercial comes on challenge yourself to do a few up and downs of your staircase, or to do 25 pushups or jumping jacks. Or, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, give 10 burpees a shot. Choose a move every commercial break and by the end of your favorite shows, you’ll have managed to squeeze in a good workout.
We’re lucky to live in such a health-focused state and community, and proud to be able to offer resources of our own. Check your local rec center for classes and opportunities to get involved with groups that may make working out much more enjoyable for you. Or, if you’re looking for heart-healthy specific workouts, sign up for one of the classes we offer here at South Denver Cardiology. Whatever you choose, there are plenty of ways to keep your physical fitness a priority even in the heart of winter. Before making any major changes in your physical activity, we recommend speaking with your primary care provider and/or cardiologist.