The cold winter months can make the prospect of hibernating seem quite appealing. Hence, many people tend to become more sedentary during the winter. Cultivating health however, cannot be put on hold. Staying active is something that has to become a year-long habit.
A sedentary lifestyle carries with it many health risks including: chronic fatigue, worsening of pain symptoms, weight gain, increased blood pressure, poor regulation of blood sugar, and increased incidence of certain cancers.
Conversely, there are numerous benefits to regular exercise. If you are not active, establishing a regular exercise routine may seem daunting. It does not have to be though. The following are some simple steps to follow when it is too cold to get outside:
Go to your local mall and walk for a least twenty minutes three times a week.
Avoid sitting too long. At commercials or at least once or twice an hour get up and get yourself a glass a water, or just take a few minutes to walk around your room.
Stretch on a daily basis. Do arm circles, leg circles and bend to each side.
Shake. Shaking your body is a good way to get things moving. Whenever you have been sedentary for a long period of time (1 hour or more) it is good to give the hands, arms and legs a shake before moving.
The most important thing is to find opportunities to walk on a daily basis.
WalkingWalking is a low impact activity that conveys numerous health benefits.
Boosts energy levels - by increasing circulation walking improves oxygenation of cells throughout your body.
Improves mood - by releasing endorphins exercise helps alleviate anxiety and stave off depression (particularly important in winter months when people's moods can be dampened due to lack of sun exposure).
Preserves cognitive function - regular activity is associated with lower incidence of dementia in the elderly population.
Strengthens bones - any form of weight bearing exercises (walking included) helps to strengthen bones, thereby preventing fractures and the development of osteoporosis.
Ensures long-term joint mobility - If joints are not used on a regular basis they tend to become stiffer and the result is decreased range of motion or arthritis.
Increases lymphatic circulation - unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump like the heart. Instead, the lymphatic system relies on contraction of the muscles to pump the lymph
There are many health benefits to be gained from establishing a simple daily routine of movement. If you are limited by your ability to move due to pain or other health concerns talk to one of our naturopathic doctors for advice.