Exercising inside or outside: What’s winter wise?

January 26, 2018 - 9:44am

If you enjoy jogging, walking, cycling or other warmer-weather activities, it’s hard when a serious wind chill or snowstorm makes it impossible to get outside for a workout. Fortunately, there are many indoor activities — from jumping rope to swimming, strength training, yoga, aerobics classes and using the treadmill, etc. — that can take the place of exercising outdoors, keeping you fit, happy, looking good and getting healthier until spring breezes arrive!

To encourage you to embrace exercise during winter (inside or outside), here’s some info that’ll help you gain the body-and-soul benefits that come from daily physical activity. Psst! They’ll give you a younger RealAge, a better sex life, improved stress management, fewer wrinkles, a stronger ticker, plus guard you against diabetes, some cancers, depression and a roster of maladies from constipation to insomnia.

Outdoor Benefits in Winter
One 2011 study found that “compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression,
and increased energy.” The researchers did caution that there weren’t a lot of high-quality studies on the topic, but you know how great it makes you feel!

Outdoor Risks in Winter
To help you feel more positive about exercising indoors in the winter, here are some potential health hazards associated with outdoor winter exercising.
—Cold air can be hard on the lungs and the cardiovascular system (not smart if you have asthma, heart disease, poor circulation or Raynaud’s disease).
—Falling on icy patches can cause serious injury.
—If you get too cold, hypothermia is a 911 emergency. It happens when the body starts shuttling blood from your skin to your vital organs to keep them warm. It’s signaled by shivering, slurred speech, lack of coordination and fatigue.
—Frostnip and frostbite are always a danger. Frostnip says: “Get inside!” Frostbite is a medical concern; tissue can be damaged permanently. A wind chill of minus 16.6 F can cause frostbite in less than 30 minutes.
—Cold air traps particulate matter and other pollutants close to the ground, so air quality can suffer (air pollution is worse in Denver and Beijing in the winter, for example). Check www.airnow.gov for air quality in your area before you head out.

Indoor Benefits in Winter
Even if you’re resistant to exercising indoors, we’re betting we can convince you of its virtues!
—Think about how much less time it takes if you’re at home, where you’re going to do that 45-minute yoga routine or sweat along with a Jillian Michaels video.
—At a gym, you get the reinforcement and socialization that comes with going to a designated place, for a specific committed workout.
—And at home or the gym, it’s so easy to mix up your routines. One day you can jog or walk the treadmill or ride the stationary bike. The next, you’re doing an aerobics or stretch class, and after that, there’s strength training with bands or
hand weights! Never boring and great for avoiding overuse injuries. Outdoors, chances are you do the same thing day after day.

But Indoors or Out, Be Aware
Exercising means you’re breathing more often and more deeply than usual and taking more air into your lungs, so if air quality is poor, you may breathe in more harmful pollutants. Also breathing through your mouth (it’s only natural
when you exercise) doesn’t filter air like breathing through your nose does. More pollutants enter your airways, and smaller inhaled particles can get deeper into your lungs. The more pollutants you breathe in, the more likely you are to
experience their negative effects.

So make sure you work out in well ventilated, low-pollution environments whether at home or the gym. Everything from animal hairs to dust mites and particulate matter from a fireplace or woodburning stove can provoke allergies and

And remember, when heading outdoors, pay attention to air-quality reports. Parks generally are better than roadways.
* * *
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.
© 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz,
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc

This column is sponsored by your local choice for healthy lifestyle products -Nutter's Bulk and Natural Foods
365 36th St. W, Prince Albert, SK
Phone: (306) 922-3835

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