WINTER ACTIVE: Stay warm and active this winter with some indoor exercises to do at home.
WINTER ACTIVE: Stay warm and active this winter with some indoor exercises to do at home. Iakov Filimonov

Winter no excuse to stop exercising

IT'S getting colder and the motivation to be active outside may be waning, but that's no reason to be inactive.

Heart Foundation's Healthy Living manager Sheree Hughes reminds us that regular, moderate physical activity is great for your heart health.

"It helps control risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being overweight," Ms Hughes said.

"There are plenty of other benefits too. If you get regular physical activity, it's likely you will live longer, feel more energetic, have stronger bones and muscles, and feel happier and more relaxed.

"It's never too late to start and get the benefits."

So, why don't you keep moving in the warmth of your home throughout the cold winter months using the following activities.

Remember, do everything in moderation, check with your doctor before you start any new exercise program and be active every day for at least 30 minutes.

Indoor Walking - no treadmill required

At home stepping out indoors is easy to do. No gym clothing is required, just comfortable shoes.

You can easily get your daily step count higher and you can even join a virtual walking group with the Heart Foundation and keep track of your weekly steps.

Start by walking on the spot. The pace of your walk and the height you raise your knees to can be determined by your fitness and agility.

You can progress to holding some hand weights, such as a water bottle in each hand, to increase the resistance and build your strength.

Pop some motivational music on, or listen to the radio. It doesn't need to be loud, just something to keep you entertained while you work out.

Add to your walking with side steps, lunges, gentle knee bends, or matching arm movements to increase the intensity and your heart rate.

If you need more ideas on indoor walking exercises, there are a number of helpful videos on YouTube which you can access for free.

If you head off to the shops, take some time to walk around the shopping centre several times, perhaps finding a staircase to the parking area to include in your outdoor/indoor walking exercise.

Many Heart Foundation Walking groups are held in shopping centres before they open, as a safe environment for walkers. A nearby group can be found by going to www.heartfoundation.org.au/or calling 1300 362 787

Stairs

Use the stairs around your home to walk up and down for 30 minutes. Use a climbing and descending pace that suits your fitness and balance.

If you don't have stairs, but you do have steps, consider some step up and downs instead.

Dancing

Find a clear, level space in your lounge or even in the garage, turn on your favourite dances tunes and then start dancing like no one is watching. It's fun and stress relieving. Invent a few new dance steps, try some old, dress up in your dance gear or just in your comfortable walking gear.

The pace of the dance isn't important as long as you are moving and getting your heart rate up to where you feel comfortable.

Lunges

You will never see your hallway in the same light again, once you start using it for the simple and super exercise of lunges.

Start at end then stretch your right (or left) leg forward bending the knee. Straighten that leg and bring other leg to stand upright. Then stretch the opposite leg forward and bend the knee, and so on. At the end of the hallway, turn around and do it all again, several times if you can.

If you are feeling stable, try doing the lunges with your hands on your hips. Or you can do it holding hand weights such as a bottle of water in each hand.

Cleaning

I know, I know, it's so much fun, but it has to be done, so why not make house cleaning benefit more than just the household.

Do everything at a slightly faster pace than you would normally - don't rush, just increase the intensity level to help exercise your body.

Why not turn on some music that you enjoy to put a sparkle in your movements as well as your mirrors.

Sweeping

Loose the leaf blower and get hold of the old broom and sweep your driveway, tiles and pathway as a way to gently work your back and arms. You might surprise yourself just how much good exercise sweeping is, and it's quieter.

You don't have to wait until the middle of winter to start getting active in your home. Why not start today and keep going even through spring and summer.

For more active ideas and good health tips, go to www.heartfoundation.org.au/active-living/get-active or call 1300 362 787.


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