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Creative Ways to Stay Active This Winter

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Prairie du Chien, WI - Regular walks and runs are a lifeline in the spring and summer for keeping active. The cold winter months can present unique challenges to staying active. Members of the Crossing Rivers Health Clinic team share winter fitness ideas that can help you cope with the cold and keep moving in the months ahead.

Matthew Snitker, Family Nurse Practitioner, suggests playing in the snow. “Grab a sled and head for a steep hill. The walk up is your workout—the slide down, your reward,” he shared. “Keep safety in mind, of course, by wearing the proper gear and being aware of your surroundings. For a great shoulder workout, throw some snowballs or build a snow sculpture. Even making snow angels gets your blood pumping.”

Shoveling snow is another great way to burn calories. “When you're done with your own driveway or sidewalks, consider helping out a neighbor,” Snitker adds. “Of course, check with your primary care provider first if you have a medical condition, don't exercise regularly, or are middle-aged or older. For those who like walking or running, add a challenge such as going uphill or including a circuit by stopping every 5 to 10 minutes to do a 30- to 60-second set of squats, lunges or pushups.”

Michelle Mertens-Dodgen, Family Nurse Practitioner, encourages community members to sign up for an at-home exercise class. “There are many free online resources to find a variety of workouts. Learning a Zumba routine, some tai chi moves or a new cardio workout can help perk up your motivation, and could be fun,” she exclaimed. “Grab a jump rope. If there isn't room to swing indoors, use your imagination. You can still do all the moves—and get all the benefits—without a real rope in your hands. Gather some friends for a virtual fitness competition. Design the challenge like the Biggest Loser or train for a virtual 5K. Creating goals with a group will help you to stay accountable, motivated, and socially connected.”

“Take the TV challenge,” shared Charlene Sauer, Family Nurse Practitioner. “When you’re watching your favorite shows, turn commercials or streaming breaks into mini-workouts by jogging in place or doing crunches, pushups, or squats. You can also create an at-home gym. Even with limited space, you can get a full-body workout with an exercise video, hand weights, and resistance bands. If you can't buy equipment, try to make your own with items you have around the house. Use fitness as a way to be social, distantly. Gather your friends and make a fitness date. You can video chat while you do a yoga workout together—or have a virtual dance party.”

Matthew, Michelle, and Charlene are members of the primary care team at the Crossing Rivers Health Clinic in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. To make an appointment with a member of the Crossing Rivers Health Clinic team, call 608.357.2500.