Battling the Winter Fitness Slump
We’re 13 days from the start of winter. Try telling that to my body, which already has fallen into a seasonal slump.
My knees quit first. After seeing them get away with it, my other joints and muscles followed with a “why bother” attitude. So, my mental warfare to stay active is now underway.
Since pandemic lockdowns began, 33% of Americans are exercising less according to a poll of 3,710 people. Pennsylvanians have spent 451 hours hunkering down watching television, according to the survey’s state-by-state breakdown of TV consumption and exercise.
I’m among the guilty. The fastest I’ve moved in weeks was when the long-awaited “Schitt’s Creek” sixth season DVD arrived at my local library. I drove over, sprinted inside, and grabbed it off the shelf. Then I buckled over, gasping for breath through my face mask. That’s when I realized I had yet another bad habit I needed to address.
My motivation to exercise always plummets at this time of year, which is a result of the cooler weather and the holiday season. Breathlessness isn’t the only price I pay when I slack off. My small fiber neuropathy and pain, both of which are common in sarcoidosis, get worse, too.
The more days you miss working out, the harder it is to get back on track. But I’ve found a few helpful tricks to coax myself back into action.
Divide and conquer
If you are starting at square one, the recommended fitness schedule for adults, as outlined by the Mayo Clinic, can be daunting: 30 minutes daily of moderate physical activity and twice weekly strength training for all major muscle groups.
But you don’t have to sweat it out all at once to get health benefits. So, I tackle it in smaller chunks throughout the day to meet goals. I build from there until I’m able to conquer it in one session.
Sneak it in
To become more fit, I also sneak in activity. For instance, I’ve stopped doing my laundry weekly. There are 28 steps separating me from my washer and dryer in the basement. By letting dirty clothes pile up, a day of laundry taxes my thighs and glutes with multiple trips up and down the steps.
Mix it up
For me, doing the same thing every day is boring. If I’m bored, I’m less likely to stick to it. So, I regularly mix up my exercises and what I use to add variety to workouts.
Fitness equipment was hard to come by at the beginning of lockdowns and is still scarce in many stores. I resorted to neighborhood walks for cardio and household items to build strength until I was able to find some. If you still haven’t had any luck, Cosmopolitan lists a dozen household items that can be used in place of dumbbells.
Plenty of free videos are also available online to show you how to get in shape with and without equipment. If you’re spending more time on the couch than off it, join me and let’s break the lazy lockdown trend!
Brighter side: We all could use a break from bad news right now. So, I’ll be closing my columns with a roundup of positivity until we are able to say goodbye to masks, hug our loved ones, and leave our homes without fear.
- “Toy Story” newborns: A Pennsylvania hospital recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of Disney’s “Toy Story” by dressing newborns as characters from the movie, according to the Observer-Reporter. Staff at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh put babies in Woody, Buzz Light Year, and Jessie costumes.
- Free holiday bookstore: A volunteer organization that promotes youth literacy is giving away free books for the holidays. Reach, Inc. opened a pop-up bookstore in the Military Circle Mall in Norfolk, Virginia, on Black Friday, WAVY TV 10 News reported. The store has a variety of new books for kids and adults. Families can choose two free books through December.
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.