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News » Filed under: Diet/Exercise/Weight

Winter Weather Workouts

Article date: January 23, 2009

Don't let cold weather put your exercise routine on ice. Working out regularly will not only help you control your weight and improve your mood, you'll also reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

It's easier to exercise regularly during the winter months than you realize – you just need to think creatively.

If it's not too cold:

  • Take the dog for a walk. 
  • Try a winter sport, like skiing, snow-shoeing, or ice-skating.
  • Shovel snow. (Shoveling snow can be really strenuous. If it’s been a while since you’ve exercised regularly, discuss your plan and your health with your doctor.)

If it's unbearably cold outside, try these indoor activities to get your heart pumping:

  • Meet a friend at the mall and walk some laps. 
  • Do leg lifts or sit ups while you watch your favorite TV show. 
  • Put on your favorite music and dance. 
  • Clean your house. Scrubbing, mopping, and vacuuming all burn calories.

The American Cancer Society recommends adults engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity – above your usual day-to-day activities -- on 5 or more days a week. Forty-five minutes to an hour is even better.

If you do plan to spend a lot of time outside, remember to tuck a tube of sunscreen in your winter coat.

While some of us may only think of sun protection when we're spending a lazy summer day by the pool or at the beach, ultraviolet (UV) rays don't disappear when the temperatures drop. While the sun may not be as strong in your part of the world during the winter months, its UV rays are reflected off of water and snow, and they are just as damaging now as they are in summer.

The most important way to lower your risk of skin cancer is to protect yourself from UV rays. That means a number of things: remembering to cover your head, wear sunglasses, and apply sunscreen with an SPF factor of 15 or more to any part of your body that's exposed. Put it on before you go out, and reapply it 20 minutes later to be sure you're covered. And don't skip it just because it looks overcast outside: UV light still comes through on hazy days.

And don't forget to protect your lips by using a lip balm with SPF. Protect your eyes by investing in wrap-around sunglasses with at least 99% UV absorption to block damaging UVA and UVB light.

For more information, see these tips for staying active and Skin Cancer Prevention and Early Detection.

 Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff

ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases.

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