Cabin Fever Fitness
It’s the time of year when we can see the winter finish line. Spring is right around the corner, and many of us have a bad case of cabin fever.
The final dregs of winter can feel like an eternity, but according to Matt Janus, an exercise physiologist at OSF HealthCare Saint James-John W Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac, just because you are stuck inside, it doesn’t mean you can’t stay active.
“Exercise doesn’t have to be at a gym, on equipment or lifting weights or treadmills,” he said. “It’s just whatever gets your body moving that you enjoy and can stick with.”
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of exercise throughout the week for basic heart health. Often in the winter months motivation to stay active wanes. But Janus says that 150 minutes can be broken down into small bite-sized increments.
“Really if you are doing anything in the house that gets your body moving for 10 minutes and gets your breathing up a little bit, your heart rate up, it’s going to help,” he explained. “So things like doing more activity intensive chores like vacuuming or sweeping, or even if you’re just taking your stairs for a few minutes at a time, up and down. It might seem silly, but it all adds up and goes toward that goal.”
Janus also recommends keeping things simple, and intense exercise isn’t necessarily what you need to strive for. Even a living room dance party counts.
“Maybe even if you’re just dancing with your kids for a half hour, that can give you just as much benefit as doing a ten minute high intensity workout. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing when it comes to exercise. Something is better than nothing, and so whatever you can do to get your body moving that you enjoy is going to be the best for you.”