Braving the Cold for Outdoor Family Fitness
Getting outdoor exercise for the whole family can be difficult in the winter months, especially when the weather is cold and sunset arrives early. What are the benefits of braving the winter weather and how can you make sure you and your family are exercising safely? Jacklyn Kiefer, DO, DME, a family and sports medicine physician with ProMedica Sports Care® and a faculty member of ProMedica Toledo Hospital Family Medicine Residency, answers our questions.
What are the benefits of outdoor exercise, even in the winter?
All exercise is beneficial, but outdoor movement is important because nature provides unique emotional benefits, giving you a better sense of well-being. And even just 15 minutes of sunshine can keep your vitamin D levels healthy. When the winter days are warmer or sunnier than usual, take advantage of theweather and enjoy the outdoor time together as a family.
What are some good outdoor activities families can enjoy?
Snow presents some fun opportunities to get in a family workout. Sledding, snowball fights and building a snowman are all activities that can build a sweat and burn calories. The Toledo Metroparks does a wonderful job of coordinating outdoor adventures, including nature walks and outdoor work projects; and there are some local ice skating rinks. Brisk walks on a paved park trail or enjoying a park playground are also good ways to actively enjoy the outdoors.
Eating Healthy When Dining Out
Dining out can be tricky when you’re trying to eat healthy. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay home. Go ahead and make that reservation – with these tips you can stick to your plan to eat healthy wherever you go.
Before You Eat:
• Check out the restaurant’s menu ahead of time if it’s posted on the Internet. Choose a healthy meal option before you arrive hungry.
• Ask to be the first at your table to order so that you aren’t tempted to change your meal choice based on others’ decisions.
• Stay hydrated with water, no- or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, or other drinks without added sugars.
3 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep
Sleep is not a luxury — it’s a necessity. Without enough sleep, your memory, physical performance, nervous system, and immune system become impaired. Although sleep patterns may change as you age, the amount of sleep your body needs usually stays the same.
If you’re not getting the recommended seven – nine hours of sleep each night, it may be wise to reevaluate your sleeping routine. Rebecca Marshall, DO, a family medicine specialist with ProMedica Physicians, discusses three tips for developing healthy sleeping habits.
1. Stick to a bedtime schedule. Head to bed around the same time each night. An hour before bed, start relaxing activities to prepare your body for rest. Steer clear of the computer and TV, which can be stimulating.