The weather and temperature outdoors can have a large impact on energy levels and motivation to exercise. Warm, sunny weather can beckon one outdoors, while cold or rainy weather could keep one hibernating inside — which is not good for the spirit or the body, including cardiovascular health.
Staying active when the weather seems to be pitted against you can be challenging. However, there are many things you can do to make the best of things and still get the exercise needed for a healthy heart. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Instead of the regular workouts you do, consider something that makes the most of the weather outdoors. If it’s hot outside, consider walking by the seaside where the ocean mist can keep you cool, or having your feet in the laps of water reaching the sand. Unless you are the Wicked Witch of the West, a little rainfall will not make you melt. Don a raincoat and take a brisk walk around the neighborhood. If it’s cold outdoors or if there’s a residual snow, sledding or skiing remain fun ways to burn calories. All of these activities count as moderate to vigorous exercise, which is recommended daily for most people.
Work out indoors:
This doesn’t necessarily mean heading to the nearest gym. It’s possible to get recommended exercise at home or at another location. Walking briskly around a mall is good exercise and you can window shop in the process. Lift heavy items around the house in place of dumbbells. Doing regular household chores with more vigor is another way to get blood flowing and your heart pumping.
It’s far too easy to indulge in comfort foods, but they tend to be fattening. Eating the right foods to maintain a healthy weight goes a long way toward protecting the heart. Be sure to eat breakfast every day, and choose fruits and vegetables as snacks over sweet and salty items. Canned varieties are just as healthy as fresh produce and can offer a variety of flavors when certain foods are not in season. Be sure to include plenty of foods high in fiber. Not only will they help keep cholesterol levels in check, but it will also help you to feel full faster and longer.
Weather is often unpredictable. Therefore, dress in layers so you can remove or add clothing as needed to remain comfortable. Children and older adults are more susceptible to the effects of cold weather. According to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, when temperatures are low your heart works harder to keep the body warm. Dressing warmly can help avoid taxing the heart. The same caution applies when the temperature is extremely warm. It’s easy for the elderly to overheat and become dehydrated. Dress in light clothing and remember to drink plenty of water.
Before starting any exercise regimen, it is important to discuss your plans with a physician. He or she can determine if you are physically capable of moderate exercise or if any illnesses may impede your ability.