The cold weather makes us want to stay inside and hibernate, but inactivity though the winter months could have a negative impact on our bodies. Not only is physical activity beneficial for our bodies, but minds as well. While exercising helps heart health, joint pain, and muscle mass, it also increases brain function. Staying active has been proven to help decrease stress, anxiety, depression, while increasing mood. Exercising does not mean having to go out in the cold but can be done in the comfort of your own home.
Here are some simple at home exercises to help you stay active through the winter months:
- Standing marches: While near a kitchen counter, alternate marching. Use arms to hold on if needed to maintain balance.
- Stand up every 30 minutes and walk around your home during a commercial break.
- Squats: While near a kitchen counter, perform a squat by placing your feet shoulder width apart, and pretending to sit back into a chair with your chest up, then rise back up and repeat.
- Calf raises: While near a kitchen counter, place your feet shoulder width apart and rise up onto your toes and slowly lower heels back to the ground.
Tips for safe shoveling
– Before beginning, make sure to warm-up your body with light movements and stretches.
– Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
– Take breaks. Do not try and finish it all at once and take smaller sections of snow at a time.
– Do not shovel snow if you have a heart condition. As well as being aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, some including chest discomfort, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea and lightheadedness.
The proper form
– Place feet facing toward the direction you will be shoveling.
– Keep your feet wide apart and place one foot close to the shovel.
– Bend at your hips, then at your knees, using your legs to push shovel forward while keeping your back straight.
– Lift with your leg muscles while maintaining a flat back.
– If you must lift the shovel, place one hand close to the shovel blade and the other on the handle.
– Avoid twisting, and instead move your whole body to where you are placing the snow.
By: Marissa Dadura, Student physical therapist from University of Lynchburg, Class of 2020
Reviewed by: Janie Schneider, PT, DPT, OCS
Information from spine-health.com and from APTA.org