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Staying Active Throughout the Winter

Category: Patient Stories
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Cabin fever may not bring on chills or a sore throat, but it can still take a toll on your energy level, mood, and enjoyment of life. Whether or not your household includes children, teens or pets, the most effective antidotes for cabin fever are to stay active, change your routine and challenge yourself to try new things.

Mary W. Zbaracki, MPH, RD, LD, CDE, a registered dietitian with St. Luke's Clinical Nutrition and Diabetes Care, offers these heart-healthy ideas to get you started:

  • Create a snowman, snow fort or snow angels.
  • Visit an indoor pool, ice rink or basketball court at a local community center.
  • Let your kids pick the music, crank up the volume and cut loose.
  • On cold days, walk at the mall before the shops open.
  • Recruit your kids to help with the housecleaning.
  • Check out children's fitness videos and have your kids rate them.
  • Go snow trekking, skiing, snowboarding, sledding or tubing.
  • Explore dance, gymnastics, karate, fencing or swimming lessons for yourself or your kids.
  • Do jumping jacks, sit-ups or push-ups during TV commercials.
  • Schedule screen-free weekends or evenings.
  • Take a field trip to the zoo.
  • Increase your dog's exercise quota.

Like traditional exercise, staying active offers plenty of benefits beyond just staving off the winter blues, Zbaracki says. "Building activity into your daily routine can help you shed unwanted holiday pounds, avoid weight gain, increase your energy, and maybe most important, reduce your risk of heart disease, a great way to celebrate American Heart Month."