Focus on Fitness: Combating winter ailments with exercise |

Focus on Fitness: Combating winter ailments with exercise

Reall Colbenson/For the Steamboat Today

Colder winter weather often brings forth the “winter blues,” with corresponding ailments such as the common cold, constant congestion, seasonal depression and increased fatigue. But perhaps most problematic to those pesky winter snags is one’s tendency to be inactive during the cold months.

Exercise provides an effective natural boost to both mood and health, but the unfortunate irony is that we find it most difficult to exercise during the winter when, arguably, we need it most. According to the IDEA Health and Fitness Association, those who exercise at least five days a week experience 46 percent fewer colds than those who exercise one day a week or less.

These six health benefits are sure to motivate you to get out and moving every day:

• Maintain a healthy weight or stay on track to lose unwanted pounds

• Create a more positive body image and increased self esteem

• Enhance your mood and boost your energy

• Improve digestion and blood flow

• Increase immunity

• Reduce stress levels

So, how do you jump back on the fitness bandwagon if you’ve been out of routine this winter?

Find an exercise routine that you enjoy, will want to stick with, and one that you would be willing to find the time to do when life gets busy. If you prefer to get outside, hit the trails for a snowshoe hike, or try a new sport like skate skiing or snow biking.

If you are looking for a social atmosphere, think about joining a class — Steamboat has plenty of options including yoga, Zumba, TRX and spin. If you prefer something more private, try personal training. Or, don’t leave the house at all, and buy an exercise DVD or a video game console as a special post-holiday gift.

Studies have shown that listening to your favorite music during exercise can improve results, both as a motivator (people tend to exercise longer and more vigorously to music) and as a distraction from fatigue.

We can achieve more, in all of life’s domains, if we restructure our attitudes. Start viewing your good health as a critical, but engaging part of your daily life, and fight those winter ailments with a healthy dose of exercise.

Reall Colbenson is a certified personal trainer at Old Town Hot Springs.

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