Joining one of many activity-focusedmeet-up groups that operate year-round can help motivate some people toexercise.
Indoor winter activities depend onyour fitness level and range from a high-energy Zumba class, a leisurely swim ata local pool or a calming tai chi practise.
Mall walking is also becomingincreasingly popular. At Thomson’ssuggestion, Leanne Wark joined hiswalking group in West Edmonton Mall tokeep active in the winter, and to help herlose weight and control her diabetes. Shefound a buddy in the group and they nowwork out together three times a week, inaddition to her twice-weekly mall walks.
Five years later, “my doctor is happy
because my diabetes is way down,” Wark
says. And she’s lost weight, “slowly, not
by dieting—by moving more.”
It’s a good idea to build exercise into
your daily routine. Thomson suggests
increasing your activity level by taking
the stairs instead of the elevator. Simple
exercises that can be done at home or in
the office include squats, stretches and
lunges, or standing up and sitting down
several times in a row. Exercise apps
are easy to use and offer activities for
“If you’re just getting started, it’s best
to do more frequent low-to-moderate
activities than doing fewer high-intensity
activities,” Thomson says. High-intensity
activities have benefits, he notes, but
the possibility of injury increases with
intensity. “The biggest thing is to listen to
your body—and your doctor.” |a
It’s a wonderland
for active living
WRITTEN BY ANNE GEORG
It’s a good idea to build active living into your daily routine, starting at a young age.
Winter isn’t just pretty. It’s also a goodtime to get active.
We know that active living enhancesour quality of life. On the other hand,Kevin Thomson, an exercise specialistwith the Edmonton West Primary CareNetwork, says inactivity can worsenchronic conditions such as diabetes,joint pain and high cholesterol. It is alsolinked, along with a lack of sunlight, todepression, anxiety and stress, which areoften more acute in winter.
The good news? Winter is awonderland for active living.
“I believe in the benefits of goingoutside,” Thomson says. He advisespeople to dress for the weather and towarm up indoors before going outside towalk (careful to avoid ice), shovel snow,build a snowman, skate, snowshoe or