As we head into fall and winter, the idea of a walk outdoors can seem like a distant memory from the warm weather. Early sunsets and cool days make walking outside difficult for many people.
But if you’re someone who relies on walking for fitness or mental health promotion, there are still ways to take some steps while staying warm and safe at home (or elsewhere).
Here, experts share how to take a meaningful walk (or other low-intensity exercise) in the colder months:
Head to a hallway or similar space in your home
According to Dr. Arun Bagesh, APProfessor of Medicine at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, The most direct way to walk home is to simply do it – go for a walk indoors. But keep in mind that the degree to which walking can be done indoors depends on what your home looks like, he said.
“What I usually tell people is to find either a loop inside the house that goes through successive rooms or the longest straight distance, which is usually a hallway.
From there, choose a time goal or a step goal and start moving. If you get bored (and spin around an inner ring Can Be boring), turn on some music, turn on the TV, or call a friend while you’re walking, he said.
“You can walk for 20 to 30 minutes in your house without going anywhere,” Bagish said.
Hit the stairs
If you live in a multi-level house, you can walk up and down the stairs as a way to move around. “Walking up a ladder is a great exercise,” said Katherine Hagan Fargo, MD, a physical therapist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
As for how often you need to climb it, she added, it’s up to you.
““If you get tired of walking up and down a flight upstairs, that’s enough for now,” Fargo said. But if you find that this time is not difficult enough for you, raise it to two or three.
Fargo notes that while you don’t want to push yourself too much, you do want to make this exercise challenging—and you should build on it, too. If you can eventually go up and down the stairs twice without any problem, increase the repetitions from there.
Do some outdoor chores
Snow shoveling and leaf shoveling aren’t exactly activities many people look forward to as cold weather arrives, said Gerard Burley, a health strategist and founder of fitness studio Sweat DC, but they are good ways to get moving.
“They use your torso, arms and legs,” he said, adding that these are “great activities for two – you can clean up and move your body.”
The National Institute on Aging even classifies tasks like yard work as physical activities to build endurance. But it’s also important to remember that shoveling snow has been linked to heart attacks, as it can put a lot of stress on the body, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
If you are used to physical activity, you are probably fine. But if this is not the case, then it is better to disassemble the bucket for the whole day. This way, you can still get the benefits without the risk. If you are ever unsure, talk to your doctor.
Go to an indoor shopping mall or grocery store
If you are among the many people who don’t have enough space for a picnic indoors, try another indoor space instead.
“There is an amazing resource at the disposal of a lot of people that they overlook, and that is the use of malls or malls,” said Bakish.
Malls have a great deal of indoor space that you can use to paddle your steps during the winter, and many of them open their doors before the stores open their doors. Bagish said you can head to the mall early for a walk so it’s less crowded and you don’t dare shop. He even recommended leaving your wallet at home.
“You can walk as long as you like, and cover as many distances as you like [and] Even going up and down stairs,” he said.
Bakish added that the same could be done in a large grocery store. You can visit the store during its off hours and walk some of the aisles.
″[This] “Great for people with balance or mobility issues,” said Bakish. “Get a cart for yourself and push it for 20 minutes, and get a great workout in a safe environment.”
Have a dance party
“a A dance party at home is a great way to get some steps and some movement [and] Fargo said.
You can put on your favorite song or artist and dance while you wait for a pot of water to boil or while your lunch is heating up. This is it “She said. “It’s great for mental health, and it’s great for physical health.”
In fact, research shows that moderate-intensity dancing has been associated with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Plus, dancing is just a way to get moving if you’re not someone who usually looks forward to a traditional workout.
If you work in an office, use what’s in front of you to move more
Fargo said those who work in an office can add up their daily step count by using a printer or a somewhat remote water bottle refilling station.
While an extra minute on your feet may not seem like much, these small changes can actually add up to a real difference at the end of the week or month.
Burley, of Sweat DC, suggested relying on co-workers to help you take charge during the workday. This could mean setting up a group text for everyone to check their movement goals or choosing a specific time for a group walk down the office stairs.
Set reminders for yourself to get moving
“The key now is to be intentional [movement]Burley said.
You can try setting a timer or using natural transitions during your day — such as the end of a meeting or when you go through all your unread email — to remind yourself to get up. During breaks from sitting, you can move around as little as you like, whether that’s jumping, walking a short distance or doing some squats.
Not only is movement good for your physical health, but “energy has also been shown to help you [be] A little bit more mentally sharp, Burley said.
And remember that you can still walk outside in the colder months
Bagish noted that while hiking outdoors in fall and winter may be more challenging due to early sunsets and cooler weather, it certainly still makes sense to do it.
“It is not harmful for the body to walk in cold air, assuming [you’re] He wears a suitable jacket.”
The only cause for concern comes from slippery surfaces as a result of snow or ice. To help prepare for this, be sure to wear a shoe with some form of tread that can give you proper grip, Pages says. (It’s also important to consider safety, so try to walk during daylight hours when possible.)
“if [you] You have any tendency to become unbalanced or at risk of falling, strongly consider using something to support it [yourself] Be it sticks or a stick.”
In addition, the use of walking sticks or ski poles engages the muscles of the upper body. This is sometimes known as Nordic walking, which comes with a host of other benefits.
Doing your weekly move should be done year-round, Bagish said, but it can take a bit more creativity during the cooler months.
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