Mid-winter is a hard time to stay motivated to be active. It is cold, it gets dark early, and many people are trying to settle into a routine after a busy December. Even if it is hard to get outside, there are many ways to stay active. Make small changes, get out of your comfort zone, and embrace your inner child to get moving this January!
Simple Everyday Changes
There are some easy things you can do every day to incorporate physical activity into your day-to-day life. You may be familiar with some of these ideas, but read on in case there is something new for you and your family.
- Walk and take the stairs where you can and if you are able. This might mean parking further away at the grocery store, using the stairs instead of the elevator at work, or taking the long way to the break room while at your job.
- Take a stretch break in the middle of the day. Whether you sit at a desk for work, are on your feet, or are running after little ones at home, stopping to stretch is a great way to keep your body healthy and strong. An extra five minutes to do some chair yoga or stretch your legs on the ground with your kids can make a big difference over time.
- Get moving after a meal. That could mean taking a walk outside, going up and down some stairs in your apartment building, or having a dance party with the kids. Research shows that any sort of physical activity after a meal can improve digestion and give you more energy.
Embrace the Winter Weather
Wintertime in the Northeast can be rough, but there are plenty of things to do amidst the cold, icy weather. Try one of these ideas:
- There is a lot of beautiful hiking in this area. During the winter, most state parks have free parking as well. Double check the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation website before you head out to see if there is a parking fee. Of course, be careful out on the trails, and look for flatter hikes if you are not an experienced hiker. It can get very slippery on some of the steep, rocky hikes. You can also check out a self-guided tour at many parks to get the most out of your adventure.
- Ice skating is a fun activity to try, especially with kids. It can be pricey in some places, but in certain rinks you only need to pay for skate rental, which can be as low as $3. Check it out and learn a new skill.
- Visit a zoo. There is plenty of walking space, and they are often less busy in the winter months. Double check the hours of your local zoo since they may close earlier. Also, see if using your EBT card can get you and your family discounted or free admission.
- Take a walk around town. Even though it is not the best playground weather, you can still walk to your local park or playground to get a little activity and fresh air. If you live in an area where neighbors decorate their homes and leave them lit up after the new year, try to play a game with kids. Ask them to count the number of snowman or candy cane lights they can find while you are on your walking adventure.
- Build a snowman or snow fort in a yard or in a park. You do not need a ton of supplies for this. Be creative with whatever you have on hand—raisins for eyes and mouth, sticks and rocks for arms and buttons. Your imagination and your kids’ imagination can go a long way!
Stay Active Indoors
If being out in the cold is difficult for you, try to stay active inside where it is warm. This could mean hunkering down in your own home or visiting other indoor spaces throughout your town.
- Visit the Just for Kids page to find some activities you can do with your family. They work no matter the size of your indoor space. If you have kids, put on some favorite music and play a game of musical chairs or have a simple dance party together. Try some of Broc’s yoga poses to loosen up any tight muscles.
- Visit your local library. Take some time to walk around, read a little bit, and see if any new events are happening. Bonus if your library is within walking distance and you venture through the cold to get there.
Winter often feels like a time to hibernate and slow down. That does not mean you have to stop moving! You can still stay physically active in a way that works with your schedule and lifestyle. Take some of these ideas and explore more ways to keep active in the Healthy Moves section of this website. Keep moving all winter long!
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