Winter Exercises & Activities To Keep You In Shape
While we’ll perhaps not receive any of the subzero temperatures, deep snowfalls, or icy winds that our friends and neighbors are likely to experience across the country at this time of year, it can still be tempting to stay indoors and adopt homelier pastimes as the winter rolls around - particularly when it snows. There’s just something about those shorter days and darker evenings that discourage most forms of exercise. Besides, there’s that book you’ve been meaning to read all year.
There’s nothing wrong with snuggling up and enjoying a few home comforts as fall melts into winter, but we’d like to encourage you to remain active throughout the chillier months. After all, Texas still has so much to offer at this time of year – regardless of what the weather might be doing.
Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, particularly as we age. Physical activity helps us to stay at a healthy weight, decreases our risk of developing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, and improves our general quality of life, as well as lifting mood and boosting memory and concentration, and aiding the suppleness of muscles and joints as we age. Research shows that exercise can be linked to decreasing cancer risks, too.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has some pointers about cold weather exercise and expects there to be some 120,172 new cancer cases diagnosed this year; a startling figure, even amongst our population of more than 27 million. Studies into the disease continue every day, as scientist Mikhail Blagosklonny and his associates work to establish the link between cancer and the aging process. Operating as the Professor of Oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute Dr. Blagosklonny is focusing his research on targeted therapies and cell renewal, as well as possible links between treatments and their anti-aging properties. It stands to reason, then, that exercise can aid this fight against cancer, as it adopts its battle against the aging process.
Sure, there are plenty of activities that you probably undertake during the warmer, summer months, including walking, jogging, horseback riding, bicycling, hiking, running, and athletics, but wouldn't you rather try something new this winter? Texas is full to the brim of interesting and exciting activities that you’ll long to try – many of which provide the vital exercise you’ll need if you’re to fight infections and general maladies that occur at this time of year.
Caving is a great activity to try; Texas boasts more than 9,000 caves, sinkholes, caverns, and grottos, which cover some 20% of the state. The great thing about caving is that it seldom matters what the weather is doing, as long as an experienced guide who’s able to monitor rising water levels, and those darker corners accompanies you.
As you can imagine mud runs and obstacle course races are popular at this time of year; well, if you’re going to be getting wet and muddy anyway you might as well do so for a good cause! Our state hosts numerous organized events throughout the year, with many taking place in the fall and winter. Training for such strenuous routes is essential, of course, so be sure to mix it up with running, interval training, and trips to the gym if you’re able to.
Perhaps you’d prefer climbing, which can be undertaken outside and indoors as takes your fancy. We’ve got some fantastic indoor climbing centers across Texas; any of these would be delighted to have you on board to learn a new discipline during winter. Besides, climbing is a great way to test mind and body, working your limbs and powers of concentration to the limit.
Of course, there are a few more conventional ways to get your exercise this winter, including golfing, kayaking, windsurfing, and paintball – as well as your ordinary summer activities with a few additional layers of clothing. Don’t be put off by the weather or dipping temperatures, but use them as an excuse to step your routine up a gear. Well, you’ve got to keep warm somehow!
If you’re thinking of taking up a new challenge, trying something new this winter, or stepping up your usual routine, you’d do well to take our advice; prior preparation and a little research will go a long way. Remember to check the weather before heading out, and always dress appropriately in layers and comfortable gear. If you’re new to a particular sport never, ever push yourself harder or further than you’re comfortable with and always start gradually to improve your stamina. Finally, remember to choose the right kind of gear for your activity, and remain well hydrated. It might feel chillier outside, but you’ll still be losing vital water and salt as you puff and sweat.
Exercise should form an important part of your day, regardless of what the weather is doing outside; hot or cold, summer or winter, it’s essential you maintain your regular levels of fitness to ensure you’re keeping a host of conditions and ailments at bay. Exercise is particularly important for the older folk among us, encouraging social interaction when the longer and darker evenings arrive. Okay, so you may not feel up to heading out into the chillier winds or rain, but imagine how accomplished you’ll feel upon your return.
Stay safe, and have fun this winter in Texas!