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December 6, 2018 | 3 minute read

Winter Activity: Boost Your Fitness Without Leaving Home

Being physically active is a key recommendation for cancer prevention and to boost overall health. The good news is that whatever your fitness or activity level, you can benefit from doing a little more. Look for simple ways to boost your activity or change it up, or you may simply begin with a focus on sitting less.

Colder weather and shorter daylight hours make it more challenging to boost your activity, but there are many creative ways to sneak in movement and muscle strengthening. You won’t need special equipment or a lot of money for a home workout. With access to online programs, videos and your own ideas, you can build a fitness program that works for you.

The recently updated Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAGA) are similar to AICR’s Cancer Prevention Recommendation on physical activity – emphasizing less sitting and more movement of all kinds. Here are the three key takeaways for boosting activity: Move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Do at least 150 – 300 minutes (2 ½ – 5 hours) weekly of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity. (Keep in mind you get even more health benefits with more than 300 minutes weekly.) Add muscle strengthening activities (moderate or greater intensity) two or more days weekly. These activities should engage all major muscle groups

To help you develop your own plan, we checked in with health providers working in oncology to find out how they stay active at home and what they recommend to their clients. From walking to working out with the oldies, here are five of their most mentioned ideas to get active today and through the winter:

  1. Walking – at home. Walking at home can be fun and energizing. Try something like this video: 1 Mile Happy Walk with Leslie Sansone.
  2. Jumping Rope. If you haven’t done this in a long time, you’ve probably forgotten how much energy this takes! Jumping rope also requires open space, but if you have that option, it’s a great cardio workout with minimal equipment ideal for adults and children.
  3. Yoga. You can look for a class with a certified yoga instructor to help you develop home routines. If you’ve had some experience with yoga, you can find a variety of beginner online programs and videos. Here’s one example of an online program suggested by several clinicians.
  4. Sweating with the Oldies. Anyone can enjoy dancing/working out/sweating with the original, Richard Simmons, or dance to your own beat. You can purchase Simmons’ videos online if you don’t already have an old recording, or put together your own personal playlist.
  5. Stretching workout. To get started, or make a change from your current routine, you can find ideas here.

Once you find a routine that you enjoy and that keeps your interest, it’s easier to maintain a routine. Track your progress by setting a SMART goal. To stay motivated, make a list of the key reasons you want to stay active and post it where you will see it every day — the refrigerator, your computer or beside the bathroom sink. And if you can find a buddy, or establish a helpful way to stay accountable to your goals, you’ll have a great support system to keep it up.

We have more ideas from the oncology health professionals, so head over to our blog for even more inspiration and fun ideas!

Thanks to these dietitians for their ideas:

Vicki Barber, RD, CSO; Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN, FAND; Lynn Hewes, MS, RD, LDN, CP-FS; Kim Robien, PhD, RD, LD, CSO, FAND; Anita Vincent, RDN, CSO, LDN; Taylor Lawless, RDN, CSO, LDN 

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