December 7, 2017

Keep Healthy During The Winter Months

General Health

Winter is here, but don’t let that stop you from exercising!

It can be down right depressing during the winter months in Wisconsin, and instinctively, we want to hunker down and get cozy as soon as we get home because it’s cold, dark, and (sometimes) snowy.

Unfortunately, our health doesn’t take a break just because the daylight hours are less, and the weather is well, frightful. In fact, we probably should be thinking MORE about exercise this time of year, considering the holiday parties and soirée damage.

Exercising in the winter is tough on many fronts, but I’m hoping this blog will help give you a few ideas for what you can do to keep your health in the fore-front of your mind, and to maybe create a few new habits.

Indoor Exercise

This might seem like a no-brainer if you’re shivering while reading this blog and thinking of the cold weather. Indoor exercise can mean a lot of things, and, much of it is about creativity. Try some of these ideas:

  • Fort HealthCare Indoor Walking Path
    • At fort HealthCare, we have an awesome opportunity right here at the hospital with the walking path. It’s warm, dry, carpeted, and there’s usually a few people walking, so you don’t quite feel alone. Grab a friend or your iPod and get walking!
  • Workout DVD’s/On-Demand
    • I’d have to dust mine off, but many of us have DVD’s lying around that we can utilize in the comfort of our own home (PJ’s optional). These are great options for a variety of workouts, and many don’t require much equipment.
  • Pinterest
    • This is a new one that I’ve just started to utilize, but Pinterest has a TON of options for workouts at home, at the office, at the gym, etc. Some are shorter than others, but you can get workout ideas that are different, ever-changing and something fun!
  • Youtube
    • Youtube has a great variety of workouts, from Zumba® to strength to yoga, and all are free! If you have a Smart TV, you can play these on your TV or just use your phone. The sky is the limit!

Outdoor Exercise

Winter in Wisconsin can be absolutely beautiful, but you have to be smart if you’re going to be exercising outdoors. I personally enjoy getting outside, even for a few minutes in the winter, because the fresh air is crisp and refreshing and there are still many opportunities outdoors.

  • Walking/Running
    • The fresh air couples with the beautiful fresh snow (not the yucky brown stuff) is absolutely an awesome opportunity to enjoy the winter while getting some exercise. Remember to dress warm enough (in layers), in bright colors, and to have good shoes or additional support (Think Yak-tracks) for your shoes so you don’t slip and fall.
  • Snowshoeing
    • There are a few local organizations that rent out snowshoes and snowshoeing can be a different and unique way to enjoy winter while burning calories (This is on my personal bucket list for this winter).
  • Skiing
    • Although skiing is not for me (Sophomore year of high school, Phy. Ed. field trip to Cascade, detoured off the hill and ended up crashing in the woods and had to be pulled out by a teacher – whoops) BUT, this is the only time of year you can hit the slopes and feel the thrill of skiing (or… again, being pulled out of the woods in front of your peers).
  • Playing
    • Kids LOVE the snow and get such joy from building snowmen, forts, tunnels and running and playing. Join your kids/nieces/grandkids and have some fun playing in the snow too!


This time of year is great for getting a gym membership. Many gyms will run end-of-the-year specials/New-Years specials and you know it will always be climate controlled with no snow! Sign up with a friend for the extra accountability and fun! (Don’t forget about Fort HealthCare and our wonderful cardiac rehab gym facility…IT’S FREE!)

Fitness Classes

Fitness classes are a great way to have something on the calendar, and to have the accountability tied to them. There are many opportunities in the area, and it’s a great way to get out of the house and to have someone do the teachings for you! If you have friends/family that join, there’s a great social aspect that comes with! Don’t forget to check out Fort HealthCare’s fitness classes by going to

Swimming/Water Sports

Alright, I’m getting a bit wild in this category, but hear me out. There’s LOTS of water opportunities in the area, and although the thought of having wet hair in the middle of winter might make you shudder, there’s something so nice about being able to play in the pool, get a great workout, and feel a little bit (in that moment) that you are somewhere tropical.  We’re so fortunate to have various pools in the area that offer:

  • Water fitness classes
  • Lap swim
  • Open swim

Check out one of these opportunities today!

Yes winter can stink sometimes, but we can’t let that excuse get in our way. We have to be sure we are taking our health into our own hands, and making a plan that works for you. Finding the motivation to exercise can be a struggle, and a hard thing to address year round, BUT, taking the time to try new things, new workouts, and even new ideas can inspire and get you out of the funk. Try something different this  you just might be hooked.

Until next time!