If Christmas cookies took a toll on your waistline, now is the time to get moving again and not to become sedentary for the winter. Dr. Kurt Van Veldhuizen, a certified sports medicine chiropractor in Johnston, says the cold weather is no excuse for letting our bodies get flabby.
“If you don’t mind the cold, you can go out and hunt, icefish, just moving around, hiking, snowshoe walking, things like that,” Dr. Van Veldhuizen says. If you have kids, helping build snow forts or snow sculptures is also a form of activity. He says it’s not always what you do, but how hard you’re doing it.
For people who just can’t stand being outside when it’s freezing, he suggests doing simple indoor exercises like Plank, which is essentially holding a push-up in the “up” position. Plank is one of four exercises Van Veldhuizen recommends, along with Bird Dog, Dying Bug and Curl Up.
Their names may sound a little odd, but in combination, he says they can do wonders. “Bird Dog is kind of a hands and knees exercise,” Van Veldhuizen says. “It’s all about balance. You’re taking the opposite leg and arm and holding them up in the air. Dying Bug is about the same except you’re on your back. Curl Up is a modified version of a crunch so we’re not harming our lumbar-spine while we’re doing it.”
Single-leg balance drills can help improve coordination. Van Veldhuizen says simple things like brushing your teeth while standing on one leg can be incredibly challenging at first and offer great benefit. He says there are many ways people can take simple steps to incorporate a wellness plan into their routines.
“Every time you stand up or sit down, you can turn it into either an activity where it’s more like a squat or it’s just pushing your hands on your knees and pushing up,” he says.
“Every movement you do, you can make the choice between turning it into something that’s an effective movement pattern or something that’s simply efficient and getting you from A to B.” If you’ve had a sedentary lifestyle for a few months or a few years, gentle changes incorporated into your lifestyle can help you to lead a more active life.