Staying Physically Active this Winter
When it comes to physical fitness, winter is the season of excuses. It’s too cold to exercise outside. Who’s going to watch my kids so I can go to the gym? I don’t have the room, equipment, or time to work out at home. Fitness isn’t seasonal, it’s a lifestyle and your waistline doesn’t go into hibernation because the weather outside is frightful. This year, don’t let that winter coat expand with empty promises that you’ll resume exercising on January 1; use the cold weather as inspiration to change up your routine and get your entire family involved.
Become a lifestyle Role Model
As a parent, one of your most important responsibilities is as a lifestyle role model to your children. Studies show that physical activity habits are developed very early in life, with the primary factor being the habits modeled by their parents (Hinkley et al.). Parents who exercise on a regular basis raise children who are more likely to have an active lifestyle, have a healthy weight status, are sick less, and even perform better in school (Jago et al.). Exercising with your children instills in them the idea that physical activity is an integral part of daily life and that a sedentary lifestyle is not normal. The doldrums of winter are the perfect opportunity to be creative, have fun, bond, and model to your children how important daily exercise is.
Exercising At Home
Exercising indoors doesn’t require a room full of expensive equipment or a lot of time. Most importantly, it can be effective. When developing any exercise program, there are a few fundamentals to keep in mind. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the first principle of effective exercise is overload—an effective exercise program must impose demands on the human movement system that force the body to adapt (National Academy of Sports Medicine). Unless you push your body harder or in a different manner than it ever has before, it has no reason to progress. This overload can be achieved through an unfamiliar movement (a new exercise), increased volume (more exercise), or increased resistance (a load, such as your child). Lastly, all exercises are variations of pushing, pulling, squatting, or core stability; once you understand the basic movements, the variations are only limited by your imagination.
Involving Your Children
An easy way to get the heart pumping, your muscles burning, and your children involved in a fun exercise routine is through a simple peripheral heart action circuit. Peripheral heart action uses several basic compound movements (exercises that engage two or more joints to stimulate multiple muscles) in an alternating circuit for a fast, effective, and functional full-body workout. With knowledge of the four basic movements, you can get a great full-body, indoor workout, with little or no equipment, that is simple enough to teach a toddler, but that you can do with an infant strapped to your chest as added resistance. Even better, as your child grows, their increased weight can be the overloading resistance factor that your body needs to continue to progress.
Physical fitness doesn’t halt when the weather gets cold and resume with another New Year’s resolution. Use the cold weather as an opportunity to bring your workout routine into the home, where you can try something new, get re-energized about exercise, and involve your children.
What You'll Need
- Your preworkout Mito2Max® and a quick inhalation of your favorite uplifting CPTG essential oil
- A (small) workout partner(s)
- Stopwatch (optional)
- Complete 10–15 repetitions of each movement
- Move on to the next movement with as little rest as possible
- Complete all four movements of the cycle and rest 30–60 seconds before repeating
- Complete as many cycles as possible in 30 minutes
Pushup (Push) Variations: Alter hand or foot positions to vary difficulty or emphasize specific muscle groups, increase load via a weight vest or a child on your back.
Freestanding Squat (Squat) Variations: Alter foot positions to vary difficulty or emphasize specific muscle groups, increase load via a weight vest or a child on your back (or chest).
Upright Row (Pull) Variations: Pull-ups, bent-over rows using a band or other resistance tools, alter grip to emphasize specific muscle groups.
Tabletop Bridge (Stability) Variations: Plank, side bridge, increase load via a weight vest or a child on your back (or chest)
About the Author
Dr. Damian Rodriguez is a member of the doTERRA education department. Prior to joining doTERRA, he worked in public health and as a strength coach and nutritionist for professional and collegiate athletes. He holds both a doctorate in Health Sciences with an emphasis in obesity and an M.S. in Human Movement from A.T. Still University, as well as numerous professional certifications in exercise and nutrition. Dr. Rodriguez is a lifelong athlete who has competed in everything from powerlifting to triathlons and is very passionate about educating the public about healthy lifestyle habits. He is a father of two beautiful children.
Hinkley T, Crawford D, Salmon J, Okely A, & Hesketh K. Preschool children and physical activity: a review of correlates. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2008;34(5): 435–441.
Jago R, Fox K, Page AS, Brockman R, Thompson JL. Parents and child physical activity and sedentary time: Do active parents foster active children? BMC Public Health. 2010;10(1):194.
National Academy of Sports Medicine. Integrated Resistance Training. 2008.