DANVILLE - Do the cold winter temperatures and sunless evenings have you hibernating at home? Are you putting your health and wellness on hold?
"Getting the recommended amount of exercise - 30 minutes a day, five days a week - especially in the winter may seem difficult, but the health benefits are well worth the time," said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Daniel Feldmann, chief of sports medicine at Geisinger Medical Center.
Regular exercise and physical activity help to control weight, elevate your mood, boost energy and promote better sleep. They can help to combat health conditions and diseases such as cardiovascular disease, too.
Many struggle to find the time or make the commitment to stay in shape as winter quickly approaches. Feldmann offered some tips to help those struggling make it through this time of year without losing ground:
Start in the right frame of mind. Maintain a positive and confident outlook.
Make it a priority to schedule exercise each day just as you would any other work or family commitment.
Set a time and stick to your plan. Exercise with a friend and you'll be less likely to let them down and skip the workout.
Choose an activity you enjoy. You'll be more likely to stick with it.
While winter poses obstacles for those trying to stay in shape, it also introduces a season filled with other fitness activities and is an opportune time to switch up your routine. Exercising outdoors can be invigorating. Try skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, running or walking.
If you'd prefer to avoid the frosty season altogether, plenty of indoor exercises are available to help keep you in shape. Some alternatives to exercising outdoors include yoga, Pilates, stair climbing, indoor walking or joining a gym.
Many libraries also have exercise videos you can borrow at no cost, allowing you to try a variety of workouts without cutting into your budget.
If time seems the biggest challenge, don't fret. Studies have shown that several sessions of physical activity during the day yield similar benefits to one longer session.
Instead of skipping a workout, try splitting exercise into multiple, shorter sessions such as 10 minutes before work, 10 minutes of walking during lunch break and 10 minutes after work.
"Many individuals seem to let their health fall by the wayside in winter," Feldmann said. "But exercise and physical activity are key to staying fit, healthy and happy during the winter."