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Seven Simple Ways To Stay Active Through The Canadian Cold

October 24, 2011

As the leaves begin to fall and the summer days are long gone, most of us tend to lose interest in staying active. Catching up with a friend over a game of golf turns into a sit down chat over a pound of wings. Visits from your pizza delivery guy start trumping your visits to the gym.

Sound familiar?

Well for those of you who don’t know, when I’m not in my Dance Pak uniform, I’m actually in school studying kinesiology and physical health. So as I’m sitting here in the library, hour three of my study session, I’ve decided to take a break to share with you some of my knowledge. Staying physically active decreases your risk for a number of health problems, feelings of stress, as well as promotes optimal growth. With the drop in weather, as your 20 minute walk to the bar gets taken over by a five minute cab ride, these seven easy steps will help you get through what I like to call the ‘Winter De-conditioning Syndrome’. These steps are meant to add to your daily routine to help maintain your physical activity throughout our cold Canadian seasons.

1) Skip the drive-through. Park your car, suck up the cold for 10 seconds, and order your Timmies coffee in person. You’ll not only increase your daily walking, but you’ll save on gas too!

2) Take the stairs instead of the escalator. Climbing stairs targets your quads, hamstrings and calves. Realistically, you’re only saving yourself about two or three seconds by taking the escalator… so why not?

3) Give-up your seat on the subway. There are many studies linking negative health effects with prolonged sitting. Especially if you’re on your way to an office job where you’ll be sitting all day, standing is healthier for your spine and it burns more calories than sitting.

4) Try walking meetings. Instead of discussing ideas for your next project while seated, try brainstorming while taking a walk around the office. Or try walking up and down a couple flights of stairs.

5) Work out in front of your T.V. For every commercial break, do a set of jumping jacks, push-ups, or sit-ups. Grab the jar of pickles sitting in your fridge and do some bicep curls, or even some yoga poses with some light stretching. Everything counts!

6) Don’t search for the closest parking spot. Take the first one you see. Thirty seconds in the cold won’t do you any harm. By parking at the first spot you see, you’ll add physical activity to your day and reduce your carbon footprint.

7) Do calf raises while brushing your teeth. Alright, I have to credit this one to my high school ballet teacher, Roz. I attended a performing arts high school as a dance major, and part of my homework for ballet class would be to stand on relever (on my tip toes in ballet terms). Proper brushing should take at least two minutes and you should be brushing three times a day. That means six minutes of calf raises a day if you’re brushing your teeth properly!

These seven steps can help replace those summer walks you made to the store. But don’t think that’s all you need to do to stay healthy. The Public Health Agency of Canada suggests adults exercise 2.5 hours a week. Make the effort to hit the gym, or play some pick-up basketball on a weekly basis. Or try something new and fun like a dance class. Either way, keep exercising and staying healthy!

Good luck and let me know how it goes,

Ashley (@AshleyConstance)

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