Activity—A Natural Mood Booster!

When the sun shines less in fall and winter, that can depress our mood. Regular physical activity lifts our spirits by releasing feel-good endorphins. Aim for 30 minutes of activity three to fve days a week. You can engage in three 10-minute bouts of activity a day, if 30 minutes all at once is daunting. Try these ideas for indoor physical activity during the cold and icy months:

  • Turn on the radio and dance.
  • March in place while watching your favorite TV show.
  • Set an alarm to walk around your house or office every hour during the day.
  • Climb stairs.
  • Use workout videos.
    • Explore streaming channels to find those that are free.
    • Borrow an exercise video from your local library.
    • Visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu, for free physical activity videos.

Keep Active While Social Distancing

Since the spring, gyms, recreation centers, and playgrounds have closed or operated in limited capacity, due to the need for social distancing. However, we can still be physically active while staying safe.

Person riding a bike on a country road
  • Walking, running, and biking with people in your household can be fun. Find a little-used trail in your neighborhood, an open park, or even a rural area and go exploring!
  • Avoid crowded parks and recreational areas. Consider canoeing or kayaking in an uncrowded waterway.
  • Try a workout video. On days when the weather is not right for being outdoors, visit free online videos that encourage physical activity. Visit the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. webpage, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/video-category/physical-activity, for ideas.

Sources:

CNBC, www.cnbc.com/2020/03/16/best-home-workout-streaming-services-to-try-during-covid-19-pandemic.html
ABC Action News, www.abcactionnews.com/news/national/coronavirus/
these-gyms-are-offering-free-online-workouts-to-everyone-so-you-can-stay-in-shape-during-quarantine

Workouts with a Buddy

It can be hard to stick to an exercise routine. The demands of work and family can ruin your good intentions. Research shows that exercising with another person may help you succeed.

One study found that married couples who exercised together did it more consistently than married people who exercised alone. A family member or friend who shares an activity with you provides support and motivation.

Water bottle and weights

Activities that go better with a buddy include partner yoga, dance classes, martial art classes, hiking, tennis, and many others.

Sometimes two people may not find the same activity enjoyable. For couples or buddies with different preferences, just committing to the same exercise time together may be beneficial. They might try the following:

  • Go to the same gym together.
  • Try activities that are new to both of them.
  • Sign up for a competition or fun fitness event.
  • Plan a group session with a personal trainer.

Having the support of a partner for both diet and exercise helps us stick to lifestyle changes.

Source: Today’s Dietitian

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