Just like a tough weightlifting routine at the gym, shoveling snow is also hard work. Treat it as you would any hardcore yet safe and effective workout and you will gain the benefits just as you would a carefully designed exercise program.
The following yoga poses and shoveling tips can help keep you strong, fit and protect your body from injury when the sidewalk is knee-deep in snow.
A flexible spine is a healthy spine, especially when it comes to shoveling heavy snow. Practice this twist before and after shoveling.
Lie down on your back with your right knee pulled into your chest and your left leg extended on the floor. Reach for your right knee with your left hand and roll onto your left hip. Extend your right arm out to the side. Hold for 10 deep breaths and switch sides.
It is estimated that at least 6 out of 100 people suffer from some type of light deficient depression during the dark days of winter, but turning your clock back an hour doesn’t have to leave you in the dark. If sunshine on your shoulders makes you happy and being starved for daylight puts you in a funk, imagining the sun can be the next best thing to keep your spirits up this winter.
Your imagination is very effective since your mind and body sometimes don’t know the difference between whether your brain is just thinking something or if you are actually experiencing something. According to the American Psychological Association, studies have associated the use of guided imagery techniques with positive outcomes such as reduced anxiety and depression. So, whenever you need to bask in some radiant sunshine, whether you are inside or out, this simple guided imagery can help.
Practice the following sequence as often as necessary and start to feel brighter, more cheerful and full of positive energy.
“Don’t. Even. Say. It.” That’s my response to the weather man’s reference to winter being just around the corner.
Living in a climate that embraces all the seasons can be challenging for a runner. However, for me, there’s no season worse for running than winter. I loathe the cold winds, the freezing temps, and the icy roads. But, I hate the treadmill more and I simply can not fathom giving up this sport just because the weather has turned foul. After years of frost bite, icy eyelashes, and chills, I have found a few tricks to take on mother nature and continue running through the winter.
If I can impart one tip to a runner in the cold, this is the most important one: Wear mittens. Be sure you read that right, I said mittens, not gloves, mittens. Gloves are great and I have several pairs. I use them in the cool seasons. But when the temps are below freezing, mittens are the best way to keep those digits warm. Technically, mittens have a higher thermal efficiency than gloves. I don’t operate in the technical world too well. All I know is that after years of pain, as my hands would start to go numb and my run was consumed with the pain, I tried a pair of mittens and my hands actually got sweaty they were so warm. Make sure to get them early, because stores sell out fast. You can thank me later.
As cold weather continues to blast the majority of the U.S., most people will be working out indoors. A few brave souls still seeking fresh air will want to read these tips to staying healthy while exercising in the cold, plus a few hints for those who are still gym-bound.
1) Lighten your workout if you have a cold.
If you have “above the neck” symptoms, like a runny nose or sore throat, but no symptoms in the chest or swollen lymph nodes, you can still workout. According to FitSugar, it’s a good idea to start at about half the intensity that you usually follow.
2) Avoid wet clothes.
Change out of sweaty clothes before you leave the gym, and if you’re working out outside be sure to pick garments that breath well (not cotton). Wet clothes can make it harder for your body to stay warm, and lead to a weakened immune system.
I am not a fan of cold weather in general. I wear layers – I mean two pairs of pants – at least December through February and often longer. Yet, I discovered last year that I really enjoy winter running, maybe even more than running in the summer. Running in falling snow is beautiful and peaceful. Since your body is working more while jogging, I’ve found I am more warm than when I walk the dog wearing more layers and heavy clothing. My friend just purchased some Lululemon gear he says is extremely warm; I would love to review it for you, but it is outside my price range. Luckily, it should cost very little to outfit yourself to run all winter long.
The best place to start with any running list is the shoes. I wear regular running shoes. You will just want to ensure that they have sufficient support and traction as you will likely be running on slick or uneven ground. If you run with your dog, you may want to leave him or her at home unless they are well-trained or unable to pull you, or you may end up being pulled off your path due to the slick snow or ice. I have run a 5k with a Great Dane, but he outweighs me and is too excitable for more than winter walks.
When the weather outside is frightful, we can’t all hibernate inside, no matter how much we might like to. When scarves, hats and mittens aren’t enough to keep the winter chill away, a hot beverage can warm you up from the inside out.
The problem with many hot beverages is that if you’re not careful, they can rack up the calories pretty quickly. If you’re tired of plain coffee or tea, turn to one of these figure-friendly cocktails that won’t derail your diet (drink in moderation!) but will take the chill away.
Hot Mulled Cider: Warm up by the fireplace after a long day with a cup of hot mulled cider. With a hint of rum or brandy, sweetened with rich honey and a touch of spice, this has everything you need to unwind at the end of a long day. For a virgin version, skip the booze and save 100 calories.
I’m not going to tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You already know, you’ve heard that one before. Breakfast is also the meal that people commonly skip, especially in the winter when cold weather and dreary skies force us to stay in bed for “just five more minutes.”
When it’s cold outdoors, jump-start your day with a warm breakfast that will help keep your belly full and your mind focused all morning.
If you’re like me, this time of year you have nothing but pumpkins on the brain. I’ve already been to the pumpkin patch to pick out my pumpkins, I simply can’t get enough of that Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks (I order it “Skinny”, though, and have it as the occasional treat, as it clocks in at 200 calories and 37 grams of sugar for a tall), and I’ve already made enough pumpkin smoothies to keep Libby in booming business. Good thing, because it turns out that pumpkin isn’t just tasty, it packs quite the nutritional punch.
Pumpkins come two ways: fresh or canned. While removing the flesh from your own pumpkin (perfect to do when carving Jack-o-lanterns) is obviously fresher, it can also be quite the chore. So, when it comes to baking and eating pumpkin regularly, canned is your more convenient option, and thankfully, canned pumpkin is just as nutritious as fresh. (more…)
With the coming of winter, we’re faced with exciting and exotic produce to enjoy. Among the many to choose from is the pomegranate.
Although its health benefits are impressive, USA Today and the Federal Trade Commission remind us that pomegranate isn’t a cure-all. Consuming pomegranates will give you tons of great health benefits, but it certainly won’t provide any miracle cures.
Pomegranate seeds and juice provide ample amounts of:
As winter stretches on after Punxsutawney Phil was frightened by his own shadow, many can start to feel SAD or trapped. It’s no wonder so many are ready to peel off all the extra layers and escape for spring break. Dealing with snow, freezing rain, ice, school cancellations, delays, and more can become frustrating, adding complication and stressors to daily life. When you start to feel claustrophobic from being in your own home, it is time to run away, literally.
I find so much freedom in running, leaving my computer behind for at least 20 minutes and getting around on my own physical power. It is how I allow my brain to rest and renew while I engage myself physically. After being cooped up as a result of winter weather, getting active feels great! (more…)