Monday, December 7, 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

One of the weight loss tips I share is to move your body early in the morning for about 15 minutes...not a big, strenuous gets the heart rate up...breathe deeply, and it starts the fires burning helping burn fuel more efficiently all day long.

We received about 8 inches of snow over the last 36 hours...while it is beautiful to look at it hampers efforts to move around and get the blood pumping...or does it?

I've been a weight loss success story because I change my thinking about my body, my health, and about diet and exercise...and I realized that here is an opportunity to "practice what I preach" and change another thought! Instead of looking at the snow as a hindrance I turned it around so I could see ways to incorporate different movement into my routine--one of the best exercises for weight loss is not one, but variety! Time to change it up with a little winter white!

So this morning I put on my wool socks and hat and went outside.

If you've ever shoveled snow, you know it is work...but maybe you haven't thought of it as exercise--but it sure is! There is no law that says exercise has to be in a gym or that it can't serve any other purpose. You can bring your tunes along, or just enjoy the peace and quiet the blanket of snow brings.

If you haven't been exercising much, don't overdo it with the snow shoveling...especially if your snow is heavier than mine. Here we have the lovely "champagne powder" so I can literally sweep it away--still a good workout, but not as hard as moving boatloads of cement snow.

My challenge at this form of exercise is determining how long to go...shoveling (or sweeping) my driveway and walk doesn't take I added in the drive and walk of an elderly neighbor...and then added some community sidewalk for good measure.

My fingers were a bit (!) cold when I got back in but I definitely got in more than my 15 minutes and broke a sweat.

Remember to breathe...and breathe deeply...don't hold your breath when you are exercising, whether that is walking or shoveling. Big tip for winter exercise outdoors: wear a scarf or something over your mouth.

But you don't have to shovel snow to enjoy the benefits of winter workouts...if your kids have a snow day (or you have a "kid at heart" at home) you can even enjoy a snowball fight. Bend down and grab some snow, toss it, bend and toss, bend and toss...laughing all the way!

Of course you can go for a walk in the snow if you have proper attire if you want. If the snow is deep it can really work some different muscles just getting to the mailbox...but I wouldn't automatically count on walking in the snow as your exercise.

Why? Think about how you walk when it is snowy and icy you carefully place your feet with each step so you don't fall? A lot of people do, especially if you are a large person who might have trouble getting back up, or someone who has had injuries in the past.

If you can't safely walk outdoors, you live alone in an area with snow removal, then what? We'll cover a few ideas in tomorrow's post...options that also work for folks who live where "winter" is a relative term!

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