Winter is not coming – it’s here. As the winter cold and wetness blast much of the Northern Hemisphere, we have to make sure to stay active and fit, despite the outdoor elements. After all, no one wants the cold or other natural elements to affect the way we live on a daily basis. That being said, traditional sports are not the only way to stay active. How about working on “winter-proofing” your home? The sense of accomplishment alone will improve your mental health, and there are physical health benefits as well.
Here are a few ways to stay active and healthy this winter.
1. Chopping Firewood
Not only does chopping wood help keep you warm, it’s a great upper-body and core workout too! There’s a reason that “strong-man” competitions include this outdoor activity in their contests. It requires great strength and stamina to continually swing an ax over your head and down through the wood, which is supplying a healthy dose of resistance. After an hour or so outside chopping wood, you should definitely be feeling it. So there’s no need to go to the gym on a cold winter day when you can kill two birds with one stone and get a great exercise while supplying plenty of heat for your home!
Strap on your skates and hit the frozen pond for some good old-fashioned winter fun! (Just make sure the ice on the pond is thick enough!) Ice-skating is not only great for improving your cardiovascular health, leg strength, and balance, it’s also just down right fun! Glide across the frozen surface hand-in-hand with your sweetheart or get the guys together for a game of pickup hockey. No matter what you do, ice-skating is sure to put a smile on your face and keep you active.
3. Re-Tiling Your Roof
This one, like chopping wood, falls under the category of being healthy because you’re getting something accomplished and doing something physical to beautify and protect your home. The rainy and cold season is upon us and the last thing anyone wants is a hole in the roof for rainwater and melted snow to seep through. The act of re-tiling your roof also has some low-impact exercise and physical exertion involved. Climbing up and down ladders and controlling heavy equipment are all in a day’s work when roofing, so your core arms, and legs get a little mini workout.
Sledding has taken on many forms since it was invented in the middle ages. It’s actually named for a middle-English word meaning “slide.” Whether you slide around or “toboggan” on a traditional sled, an inner tube, or even a shovel, get out there and get active! Reward yourself for all that hard work at home with a ride down a snowy hill and enjoy all that winter has to offer!
Painting, like the other aforementioned activities, can have immense psychological and physical health benefits in addition to making your home look (and feel) better. Painting is actually a relatively high-impact shoulder and core exercise, particularly if you do it long enough and are reaching for high and hard to reach surfaces. Try just holding your arms above your shoulders for a prolonged period of time. Now try it with a long painter’s pole. Believe it or not, after a day of painting, you’ll come away with that same kind of shoulder soreness (the good kind that lets you know you got a workout) that you might have from a day on the water kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding.