Five ways to stay active and cure the winter blahs

Michigan winters are not for sissies. In Detroit, the average temperature during January one year was just 12.8°F. Further north, some places had temps as low as -51°F!

When it gets that cold, hibernating is the only sensible option. But even then, one of the best ways to stay healthy during the winter is to do exactly what’s necessary to prevent frostbite: Keep moving!

Staying active in the winter boosts immunity by keeping the lymphatic system active,” says movement therapist Deborah Quilter. “Winter fitness also prevents weight gain that can occur from inactivity and holiday eating and drinking, as well as the aches and pains that arise from sedentary behavior.”

Fitness activities will get your blood pumping and are a perfect remedy for the winter blahs – not to mention keep your energy and productivity levels up at work. Here are five ideas to help you and your employees shake off that tired, sluggish feeling and make winter much more bearable.

Go out and play! When was the last time you built a snowman or had a snowball fight? They’re great ways to burn about 300 calories per hour. And if there’s no snow, try ice skating, which is an even better workout at 450 calories per hour.

Take walks at the mall. If you really can’t stand the cold, this is a safe, simple way to exercise without all the Eskimo gear. Medical experts say a routine of brisk walking can help lower your “bad” cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce diabetes risks, manage your weight and improve your mood.

Work out at home. Pop in a workout DVD or drag out that treadmill or stationary bike gathering dust in the basement. If you don’t have any of these, how about an inexpensive, do-it-yourself home gym? And here are 10 exercises you can do at home without any equipment.

Try something new. Winter sports such as cross-country skiing or snowshoeing are a fun way to burn off mega-calories. Maybe join an indoor sports league or take bootcamp or Zumba classes.

Refresh and de-stress. Gentle, restorative activities such as yoga and tai chi and qigong can build strength, increase stamina and flexibility, and help you relax. An added bonus: De-stressing can replenish your immune system and help you fight off colds and flu.

About Ken Dallafior

Ken Dallafior is Senior Vice President, Group Business and Corporate Marketing at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). Dallafior leads BCBSM's group sales force, oversees corporate marketing and product development, and develops and implements key corporate strategies. He also provides leadership to critical sales operations such as agent relations and commissions, sales incentives and complex issue resolution for group customers and sales agents. In addition to working in the insurance industry for nearly two decades, Dallafior played professional football from 1982 to 1992. He is founder and board member of the Detroit Lions Courage House.
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