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Maintain your resolutions during winter’s cold

Friday, February 5, 2016

By: Dr. Lynn Wagner


New Year’s fitness, diet and health resolutions not going too well? You’re not alone. It’s a problem many well-intentioned people face, particularly during the cold winter months.

 

The speed at which many of us ditch our New Year’s resolutions is eye-opening, writes Lenny Bernstein of the Washington Post.

 

“A 1989 study by John C. Norcross of the University of Scranton shows that 77 percent of resolvers had been able to keep their commitments ‘continuously for one week,’ and follow-up research by Norcross in 2002 put the figure at 71 percent for one and two weeks. That means that about 25 percent of us don't stick with it for seven measly days,” Bernstein wrote.

 

It’s easy to put off a trip to the gym, especially during winter, when it’s cold, snowy and just so darned dark. Here are a few tips to help you fight through that defeatist mentality and stay true to those resolutions.

 

Embrace cold-weather sports: Try cross country skiing. It’s a total body workout, a big-time calorie burner and it helps combat depression. Or try snowshoeing, even if it’s just around your yard. It provides a solid cardio workout while also building strength, balance, agility and endurance.

 

Layer up, get out and run: Yes, running in the cold is a great and healthy idea. Running in summer’s heat and humidity taxes the body. You don’t need to worry about that in winter. Just remember to layer up – thin hat; wind-proof, sweat-wicking jacket; thin gloves or mittens; and Spandex-type running pants with wool socks and running shoes. You’ll do your body some good and be in better shape once the spring thaw begins.

 

Try hot yoga:  That’s yoga performed indoors, under hot and humid conditions. The feel-good heat helps increase your flexibility, as well as warm your bones on a teeth-chattering winter day.

 

Participate in other indoor fitness classes or activities: Get out and enjoy a spin class, laps at your community center’s pool, join a recreational basketball league or head to your neighborhood rink to burn about 500 calories through moderate ice skating.

 

Quickly shed your wet clothes after a winter workout. Follow that with a healthy snack or meal incorporating lots of veggies and healthy grains and protein. Most importantly, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. It sounds gross, but you need to drink enough water so that your urine is pale yellow in color.

 

Embracing the cold and continuing fitness activities despite it will lead to increased vigor, quality time in nature (important for our mental well-being) and an improved fitness and health level that will have you feeling good about maintaining your New Year’s resolutions.

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Wagner Lynn

Dr. Lynn Wagner is an integrative lifestyle medicine physician with BayCare Clinic. She is fellowship trained in Integrative Medicine and offers this increasingly popular approach to healthcare to patients in Northeast Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Dr. Wagner is also board certified in Emergency Medicine which gives her a unique combination of skills to care for her patients. 

 

Away from the office, the Green Bay area native enjoys running, cycling with her family, hiking, spending time with her family and relishes the excitement of all the outdoors activities Wisconsin’s winter season has to offer.

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BayCare Clinic, baycare.net, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.