Written by Contributor and Doctor of Physical Therapist, Rachel Louissaint, DPT
This time of year is all about family, togetherness and spreading love. Not only that, it’s also about good food, staying cozy and enjoying the colder weather (well, kind of). Constantly moving, even in the simplest ways are the cornerstone of maintenance and injury prevention. It is important to stay consistent and balanced in our routines. As a physical therapist, I see firsthand what a lack of activity and mobility can do to the body. I always advise my patients that the best thing to do is to maintain movement year round. If you are down, try any of these 4 tips to help you stay mobile this winter.
1. Go for a walk
Walking is the easiest and most inexpensive way to get things moving immediately. Walking is an easy starter activity. We have to walk anyway, but you can also take it at your own pace in reference to speed and distance. Walking has many benefits, it improves cardiovascular endurance, helps to lubricate your joints (especially knees and hips), helps to tone your legs and may even help enhance mood and immune function. If you live somewhere cold this time of year, it may not be the most fun, but just pick a time when the sun is out, throw on some layers and go for it.
2. Stretch it out
Stretching is very important when discussing and maintaining movement and flexibility. People are always concerned with how tight they think they are or feel. The best way to combat this is to have a regular stretching routine. Even taking 10 mins each morning or at night can yield amazing results. In the colder months, it is even more important to stretch. Colder temperatures cause muscles to lose heat. It’s no coincidence that we may wake up on a colder morning and feel stiff. The addition of stretching to your daily routine can also help with stress relief and calming.
3. Find an active hobby
Most of us spend a lot of time indoors during the holidays, but it’s the perfect time to find a hobby that is going to make you get up and get out. Sometimes we don’t have time to develop and explore our interests, but the holiday season is the perfect time to start. It may be the time to explore things like photography, learning to skate, taking a Zumba class or going for a hike. Pick something that will keep you moving and enjoy.
4. Enjoy a home workout
With most gyms having closures and social distancing happening nationwide, home workouts have become one of the safest ways to exercise. The good thing about home workouts is that they are weatherproof. Even on the coldest winter day you can still catch a sweat from the safety of your own home. Another great thing about home workouts is the variety. You can do various classes from Zumba, Barre, HIIT, Kickboxing to strength training. Also, switch things up and dance! Dancing is a great stress reliever. Aside from being fun, it can also be a cardiovascular exercise, improve coordination and flexibility as well as increase muscle strength and endurance. So put on your favorite playlist and dance it out!