Too Cold to Walk Outside? Try These Winter Workday Activity Tips  

Many of us have become fond of our daily work-break walks while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Heading outside and hitting the pavement for even 10 to 20 minutes a day can go a long way in breaking up the monotony that comes with spending so much time indoors.  

Walking is easy on the joints, suitable for people of all ages and is associated with numerous physical and mental health benefits. But what happens when Old Man Winter makes those daily walks a lot less desirable?  

As the wintertime weather ramps up here in Michigan many will want to remain active this winter without having to brave the bone-chilling cold to make it happen. Get up out of your office chair and give these tips a try:  

Easy ways to sneak activity in during the workday without an outdoor walk  

Utilize your stairs: If your home has a basement and/or second level, your stairs can be your fitness buddy this winter. Research shows that stair climbing strengthens and tones leg muscles, and can also positively impact your heart health, according to the Mayo Clinic.   

From stair lunges and stair crawls to simply walking up and down them for a few minutes straight, you’d be surprised at the kind of aerobic workout the stairs in your home can provide, especially as a work-break walk substitute.   

Be mobile during teleconferences: Try a “walk and talk.” Instead of sitting in your chair during a meeting that doesn’t require you to take notes or present material, get up and pace around the house.   

Studies have found that sitting for prolonged periods of time can lead to chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. So even walking around your house here and there beats sitting for hours on end. If you happen to have a treadmill at home, try Zooming or chatting on Teams from there, on a low walking speed.  

Stretch out! Speaking of prolonged sitting, combat some of its pitfalls with these stretching and light yoga tips provided for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members via the Blue 365 program 

  • Neck Circles: Relax your neck muscles by simply circling your nose around an imaginary clock in front of you. Circle your nose clockwise a few times then counterclockwise. 
  • Shoulder Rolls: Relieve tension in your shoulders by standing up tall and drawing circles with your elbows in both a forward and backward direction. 
  • Side Bend: Open up your chest and improve breathing by standing tall and lifting your right arm up and over to your left. Then, lift your left arm up and over to your right. 
  • Seated Child’s Pose: Loosen a tight lower back by leaning forward in your chair and resting your forearms on your thighs. Tuck your chin in to stretch your spine. Be sure to inhale and exhale deeply at least three to five times when completing each exercise. 

Consider a standing desk: This option will force you to open up your wallet a little bit, but working from a standing desk this winter could replace a few of the meaningful aerobic minutes you registered with your daily walk.  

Standing desks have proven to help you burn more calories per hour than sitting, while also easing back pain and increasing productivity.  

Other indoor fitness tips to consider this winter   

If you are not a gym member, you may lean on walking as your primary means of fitness. Maybe you walked closer to an hour each day before the weather broke.   

If walking meant more than a work-day break to you, consider taking advantage of BCBSM’s discounted virtual classes through the Blue 365 program to fill the potential fitness void created by the cold.  

Blue 365 members can snatch up discounted offers of up to 68% on personalized online health and wellness classes that focus on stress management and mindfulness, adaptive workouts, support for chronic conditions and more.  

Virtual yoga group classes and virtual personal training sessions are also available at discounted rates for Blue 365 members looking to make the most of this winter from a fitness standpoint.  

Visit BCBSM’s BWell page to learn more about rewards you can reap by staying in shape and participating in wellness activities 

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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