02.20.18 | General Health

12 Healthy Indoor Activities for Winter

staying indoors during winter

Cabin fever too high? The winter months can bring us to spend less time outdoors, often decreasing physical activity. Remaining stuffed up indoors for extended periods of time can make us and our brains feel tired. We may find ourselves easily frustrated by the silliest of circumstances. Boredom often lurks at our feet just waiting to pounce on us during the darker, colder months of the year.

Finding a few favorite winter activities that you can jump back to when the weather turns adds interest to indoor time. Staying consistent and active is far more important than the type of activity chosen. What might you enjoy most if you were only choosing an activity for a portion of the year?

In Opposition to Summer

Our bodies are designed to be used cyclically based on changes that take place naturally in the world in which we live. Modernization has changed how we interact with our world. Give your body time to rest and rejuvenate without becoming stagnant. Take time to heal from any injuries with less intensive – but consistent exercise.

Even if you are not currently injured, your body still needs a variety of movement styles. Choose an activity that works the muscles in opposition to those you use most. This can help give your ‘summer muscles’ a break and help promote wellness by working a variety of muscles in the body.

Maintain A Winter Balance

staying indoors during winter

Your immune system loves it when your body is in motion. Science is still seeking to fully understand how the immune system responds to activity. However, it is understood that the body’s immunity is strengthened by exercise. Exercise helps the brain and body work together to maintain a healthy environment within the body.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that works to send signals between nerve cells in the body. Physical activity helps our bodies regulate this important chemical produced by our bodies. Raising serotonin levels is an excellent way to get, and keep, the brain and body in sync any time of the year.  

Exercise also promotes physical health by helping the body to work at an increased level of activity. Teaching the body to function at a higher level, helps regular daily movements to be less intense. Regularly giving the body a variety of intensities is good for muscles, joints, and brain activity.

No Gym Access? Make Your Own Fun

Recreation center leagues offer group interaction and a good workout all in one bundle – when they are available. If a center is not available in your area, consider creating your own group activities. Comradery is good for everyone!

Having a small group of committed individuals may be more plausible than gathering a whole community of people for regular activity. Find out if you and a few buddies can utilize a community space, someone’s living room or even an underutilized barn. Learn when the spaces are not in use and make some fun!

Seek out one of these buildings in your area:

  • School cafeteria, library, empty classrooms
  • Community center
  • Senior citizen spaces
  • Civic buildings
  • Heated barns

Try these activities solo or with others:

  • Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates
  • Body Weight Workouts
  • Organized sports (soccer, dodgeball, basketball)

12 Boredom Alleviators

1) Share a machine.

Go in for a group elliptical or treadmill machine. Perhaps you already have one sitting somewhere that is seldom used. If you are easily bored by your machine, talk to a neighbor and swap times to take turns on what each family already owns. This is helpful for some families because the kids can also swap houses for some additional indoor fun while the parents stay active.

2) Invent and play a ridiculous game with the kids.

Ask some kids what game they want to play. Then turn it into something that takes up a whole room or house to play. For example, a stack of colored paper can be turned into a game of checkers that is 16 feet wide and long! Your brain and body will both get a workout. This one may not be much of a heart racer – but it sure is fun! You will give your legs some work. Be sure to raise up and down with your legs and not your back when moving game ‘pieces.’ What game would your family most like to play in ‘king size’ mode?

3) Sleep.

This may seem obvious but most of us do not get enough of it. Sleep provides rest and mental nourishment. Without plenty of regular rest, our bodies easily get worn down making us less likely to garner all of the goodness from the other activities that we choose.

4) Put your bike on a trainer.

Pick a book that has escaped your grasp and ‘travel’ the roads and valleys with your characters. This is a great way to keep your attention focused without crashing. Do not feel as though you must stay on the handlebars while on the trainer. Sitting up straight may be more comfortable for some people. Give your legs a good workout while your mind runs through fields of adventure! Alternative: Pop in a movie, grab a digital article, or plug in some tunes for an added dose of indoor fun.

5) Workout by a window – any workout.

Enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and soak in some Vitamin D without losing feeling in your fingertips. Be cautious, however, the sun’s rays can reflect with great power off the snow and even through glass. This means that you can get a sunburn while indoors. The sun’s rays bring wonderful goodness to the body when absorbed with care. Sunblock is always good for the skin anyway.

6) Bust out some long-forgotten chores.

This may not be the best choice of tasks for every day, but it will get you moving! Movement can easily inspire us to want to continue being active. Plus, you will love your nice, newly cleaned space, barn, cabin, or forgotten shed!

7) Find someone to help.

Maybe a neighbor or coworker has some heavy labor that needs to be done that they really do not want to do. Work with them to accomplish the task. Maybe they will join you later for a springtime chore!

8) Get your dance on!

Turn up your favorite music and get moving. If your favorite music is slower paced, enjoy a few songs while stretching or warming up. Then find something with a little more pep and dance, dance, dance. Have the kids join you on this one! They will likely know some tunes to increase your heart rate. Be silly and ridiculous. Your arms and legs will love the freedom!

9) Climb it!

Pick a wall in the house and climb it. Okay, yes, most people will take the time to attach hand and footholds. Ensure that proper landing gear is in place and that the area surrounding the climbing space is completely free of hazards. Use regulation holds and affix each one properly for safe climbing. Caution: Neighboring kids will love visiting!

10) Go ‘fishing’ indoors.

This one is especially fun with a few kids. Use paper to make some ‘fish.’ Take turns hiding them all over the house. You will get plenty of physical movement from searching high and low for fish to ‘eat.’ Placing the fish in their hiding places adds more up and down movements to your day. Be sure to give your legs the bulk of the work (not your back) when going up and down. You can add more interest by having two people fishing at once to see who finds the most. Timing each person to see who can find the fish in less time also works.

11) Imitate me.

Take turns with friends, neighbors, or some kids. See who can come up with the most challenging poses or actions. For example, walking with an object on your head, balancing a stick in your hand, or completing a favorite dance move. Yoga poses are also fun to try during this activity. If enough people are interested, consider awarding points and declaring a winner in the end!

12) Get chiropractic massage.

Caring for your musculoskeletal system is a wonderfully simple way to promote and maintain health in the body. A chiropractic massage can include chiropractic adjustments, rehab therapy, and other spinal care methods. This works to unite the body’s systems, creating wellness throughout the body.

Love Your Winter

Grab some friends and try out some new indoor winter activities. On another day, find some solace in enjoying an activity by yourself. Whatever it takes to keep you interested in physical movement. Create a new favorite pastime that keeps you moving. Your heart, joints, and muscles will love you for it! Enjoy winter before summer returns!

Author: Dr. Brent Wells

Dr. Brent Wells has been a trusted chiropractor since moving his family from Oregon to Alaska back in 1998 and founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab – B.S. from Univ. of Nevada, Doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College, volunteer for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation, and member of the American Chiropractic Association. As a chiropractor his focus is on family, including his 3 children and wife of 20+ years, his clinics, and ongoing education.

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