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Staying Active During Cold Weather

It is recommended that adults get a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity per week for good health. So, how can you exercise when you don’t belong to a gym and the weather is so unpleasant?

Nashville, Ark. – Taking a walk or playing with your children in the park on a beautiful, sunshiny day is easy to do. However, when the weather is cold and damp, it becomes hard to get motivated to get up and go outside. Lately, the weather has been very unpredictable! One day it may be warm, but the next the temperature drops to below freezing.

            In spite of all this, it is recommended that adults get a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity per week for good health. So, how can you exercise when you don’t belong to a gym and the weather is so unpleasant? Good news is there are several ways to exercise indoors without spending a lot of money, uses very little equipment and still gets your heart rate up. Here are some great ideas:

  • Schedule some time to exercise. If possible, find a friend you can exercise with. They will help you stay committed.
  • Walking indoors is possible. Try walking to a workout video. There are several that allow you to get in a mile or more and they do increase your heart rate.
  • Make your household chores part of your fitness routine. Put on some peppy music while you clean the house to speed up your pace and raise your heart rate.
  • If you have children at home, play games that get you moving. Simon Says, Twister, or dancing to Hokey Pokey are all greats ways to get your blood moving.

            Whether you exercise inside or outdoors on warm days, here are some tips for preventing pain and injury:

  • Start slow and easy. Unless you’re a seasoned walker, start with just a 10 to 15 minute walk. Build up each week until you are doing at least 30 minutes, five days a week.
  • Dress appropriately. Wear comfortable walking shoes that fit well, along with loose-fitting clothing and layers to adjust to changes in temperature.
  • Warm up. Always allow your body to warm up before getting into your routine. Take five minutes and walk slowly before picking up the pace.
  • Stretch. After warming up, stretch your muscles for about five minutes before walking.
  • Maintain good posture. Hold your head high, swing your arms naturally and gently tighten your stomach muscles.
  • Assess your intensity. If you’re so out of breath you can’t carry on a conversation when walking, you are going too fast.
  • Track your progress. Log how many steps or miles you walk and how long it takes.
  • Make walking fun. Plan several different locations to take your walk. Listing to your favorite music.
  • Cool it down. After walking, cool down for about 10 minutes. Walk slower than you were. Stretch your calf muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings and back. Allow your heart rate to return to normal.

            The most important part of any exercise plan is to stick with it. Be patient and flexible. If you don’t meet your daily goal, do what you can and strive to increase the next day. Once you take that first step on your journey, you’ll be well on your way to better health!

            Walk Across Arkansas is a great way to get motivated, exercise with friends and have a friendly competition at the same time. Walk Across Arkansas is an eight week program conducted through the U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service.

            Teams of two to ten people come together, develop a name for the group, and register your team online at www.uaex.edu/healthylifestyles/walkacrossarkansas.

            The program will begin, Sunday, March 11 and run through May 5. Registration is open now! Individuals can walk by themselves or they can walk with other team members. Each person keeps a log of how many minutes they exercise. While walking is the focus of the program, any exercise (that gets your heart rate up) will count.

            If you have any questions about Walk Across Arkansas, feel free to contact me at 870-845-7517 or visit my office located on the second floor of the courthouse.

            Information for this article was adapted from Spend Smart, Eat Smart, University of Iowa Extension Service and The Mayo Clinic.

Recipe of the Week

            Here is a great recipe for cold winter evenings. You can serve it as a stew or strain the broth and serve it on the side as a gravy. Brown rice compliments this dish well.

Crock Pot Chicken and Vegetables

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

2 onions, sliced

2 celery ribs, cut in 1-inch pieces

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 ½ pounds)

1 cup water

½ cup low sodium chicken broth or white wine

½ teaspoon dried basil

2 teaspoons dried parsley

Dash of red pepper flakes

Black pepper, to taste

Salt, to taste

            Combine the vegetables in the crock pot. Place chicken on top of vegetables. Mix together the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and pour over chicken. Cook on high 4-5 hours.

            Yields: 6 servings

Nutrition Information per serving: 190 calories, 3.5 g fat, 28 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 280 mg sodium

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517
jince@uaex.edu

 

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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