Winter is here, along with colder weather, darker evenings, and coughs and colds. Once the days get shorter, many people get the urge to curl up in front of the TV with a big bag of cookies and glass of milk.
Right now, that’s the worst thing you can do. “The healthier you are the more resistant you are to colds and infections,” says Erkan Ozturk, MD, a geriatrician in the Center for Successful Aging at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital. “The advantages of regular exercise are too great to be put on hold when workouts become inconvenient. People who exercise reduce their risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, diabetes and osteoporosis,” he adds. “In addition, regular workouts improve your mood, increase your energy level and help you sleep better.”
Unfortunately, winter can limit you to indoor activities, because of slippery surfaces or even just the temperature. “Safety is a serious concern in the winter,” notes Dr. Ozturk. Although it might be a little harder to push yourself during the winter, working out is likely to pay off in the spring. “So rather than using winter weather as an excuse, view it as an opportunity to be more creative about how you approach getting your daily exercise,” says Dr. Ozturk. Before you start a regular exercise routine, consult with your doctor to see if there’s any reason why you should not be physically active.
This article appeared in the winter 2017 issue of Good Health. Read more articles from this issue.