Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fitting in Fitness During the Winter

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | 3:57 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , No comments


With assistance from Northeastern graduate student Melissa Pryputniewicz

Winter is probably one of the least popular times of year. The days are shorter, the weather is gloomy and can be brutal – sometimes it feels as though winter will never end! For many reasons, people are less active during the winter months. Some people develop mild depression during the winter while others don't want to travel in the snow or cold to go to work let alone go to the gym. Even though it would be nice to curl up and hibernate, it is important to be physically active during these chilly winter months.

Benefits of Being Active
  • Decreased Depression – According to a clinical study, exercise was an effective antidepressant over both the short and long term. This could be especially helpful during the winter months when many people develop a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder.
  • Immunity Boost – According to the Cleveland Clinic, studies have shown that regular exercise can boost parts of the immune system. They recommend twenty to thirty minutes of light exercise fives times a week.
Winter Activities
There are plenty of ways to be active when the weather takes a cold turn, whether you want to brave the elements or you’d rather stay indoors.
  • Outdoor Activities – You’ll get to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature and be physically active at the same time! Some popular winter activities include:
    • Skiing (downhill or cross country)
    • Snowboarding
    • Ice Skating
    • Sledding or Tubing (walk back up the hill for extra activity!)
    • Hockey
    • Snowshoeing
  • Indoor Activities – If you prefer to stay out of the cold, there are still many ways you can be active. If you find you are getting bored with your usual routine try incorporating different activities during the week.
    • Go to the gym – if you are getting bored, ask for some new workout suggestions
    • Take a class – a new class can break up the monotony of winter workouts
    • Walk around the mall – use it as an indoor track away from the elements
    • Swimming – try going to a pool at the local fitness center or YMCA
    • Exercise at home - with a video, if you are bored with your current choices try the library or Netflix for some new titles
Important Things to Remember
  • Dress Appropriately – If you are going to exercise outside dress make sure to dress right. According to the American College of Sports Medicine you should start with a base layer made of a material that wicks away sweat. The middle layer should be one that keeps you warm, but also helps keep moisture away. The final layer should protect you from the elements. And though it is important to ensure your core is warm, make sure to keep your hands, feet, and head covered too!
  • Stay Hydrated – Just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean you get to slack on drinking water. You can dehydrate just as quickly in cold weather as you can in warm weather.
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Melissa Pryputniewicz is a graduate student of nutritionist Christine Clark in the MS in Applied Nutrition program through the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University.

Nutritionist Christine Clark works with Dining Services to provide you with tips and techniques to stay healthy during your time at Northeastern. If you have any further questions about this topic or are looking for more information about any other nutrition or diet topic, such as food allergies or sports nutrition, please contact her at christine.clark2@compass-usa.com.

References:
  1. North, T. C., P. McCullagh, and Z. V. Tran. Effect of exercise on depression. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. 1990; 18(1): 379-415.
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Diet, Exercise, Stress and the Immune System. Cleveland Clinic. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/chronic_fatigue_syndrome/hic_diet_exercise_stress_and_the_immune_system.asp Published October 22, 2008. Accessed February 15, 2013.
  3. Roberts, Delia. Selecting and Effectively Using Clothing for Inclement Weather. American College of Sports Medicine. 2011.

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