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Winter Exercise

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends the following key guidelines for physical activity[1]:

  • Avoid inactivity.  Some physical activity is better than none and adults that participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
  • Adults should do at least 2 ½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity a week (22 minutes a day).  For even more health benefits, increase this time to 5 hours a week (43 minutes a day) and add varying degrees of exercise intensity.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities should be done on 2 or more days a week.30375439

The health benefits of physical activity are vast and occur for every age group and across all racial and ethnic groups.  Physical activity can help[2]:

  • Control your blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight
  • Lower your “bad” cholesterol and raise your “good” cholesterol
  • Prevent heart disease, colorectal and breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes

Wisconsin’s winter can make outdoor exercise more difficult, but there are ways to get physical activity in.  Here are a few tips for safe winter exercise:

  • Bundle up if you head outside to exercise.  Dress in layers, protect your hands, feet and ears and pay attention to the temperature.  If the temp dips below 0° or the wind chill is dangerous, consider an indoor activity.
  • Drink plenty of water.  Staying hydrated is just as important in cold weather as it is in warm weather.  Drink water before, during and after your workout.
  • Exercise in a safe environment.  If you venture outside for exercise, be sure that you are in a well-lite, shoveled and salted area to avoid injury.  Wear reflective gear for exercise after the sun goes down.
  • Embrace winter.  Wisconsin offers many unique opportunities for winter activities that will keep you healthy.  Try cross-country or downhill skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, sledding or even shoveling.  There many low or no cost indoor activities you can try too, like mall walking, exercise videos on YouTube or fitness classes at your local YMCA.

Don’t let the falling temps or falling snow get you down – start your New Year’s resolutions early by starting your fitness routines now!


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