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December 13, 2023

How to stay physically active in Philly during the colder months

Fitness Exercise

Content sponsored by IBC-Native-121223-WinterExercise

Rittenhouse Square with snow and people walking Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Many people find it difficult to keep up with a fitness regimen during the winter months, but sticking with your workouts can do wonders for both your physical and mental health.

Exercising outdoors can be particularly beneficial. Spending time in the sun is an effective way to combat the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that’s linked to the changing of seasons.

Get active in Philly

There’s no shortage of places to get your heart rate up in the Philadelphia region. If you want to venture outside your neighborhood to walk or run, consider these places:

• Fairmount Park, which has five jogging trails
• The Schuylkill River Trail, which has a finished stretch that runs along an abandoned rail line
• Any of the more than 30 trails in Delaware County
• The 282 miles of shared-use trails in Bucks County
• The many hiking trails in Chester County’s parks
• The 96 miles of trails across Montgomery County

If you want to ice skate outdoors, the Delaware River Waterfront is home to Independence Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, a riverfront winter wonderland that features an NHL-sized skating rink. There are also numerous ski resorts within driving distance of Philadelphia if skiing or snowboarding is your thing.

And don’t assume you can’t get some outdoor exercise if a snowstorm stops you from going for your daily walk or run. Shoveling snow can be a great workout — just be sure you do it safely . Philadelphia also has some good sledding hills, as do these state parks. The ride downhill may not burn many calories, but the walk back up the hill certainly will!

Staying safe

Outdoor exercise does require some planning during the colder months. Wintery weather can make walking or running outdoors uncomfortable or even unsafe.

Always prepare for any outdoor activity by warming up first. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the signs of hypothermia, which include intense shivering, extreme fatigue, slurred speech, or loss of coordination.

To protect yourself, wear multiple layers of clothing and make sure the first layer is a fabric that can wick water away from your skin, such as wool, polyester, or nylon. It’s also important to keep your head, hands, and feet warm. And don’t forget to wear shoes that will provide support and traction in slippery conditions.

If possible, exercise in daylight. That way, drivers can see you and you can be on the lookout for hazards along on your route. If your schedule only allows to you exercise at night, be sure to wear bright, reflective clothing so you’re easy to see and avoid.

And don’t forget — staying hydrated is just as important during the winter months as it is in the summer!

Exercising indoors

If exercising in cold weather isn’t for you, there are plenty of ways to get your blood pumping indoors. The Philadelphia region has tons of gyms and fitness studios, but it’s also possible to burn some calories without even leaving your home.

If you have stairs, climbing up and down them can offer an intense workout. If you want to accomplish something while exercising, do some household chores.

Many stretching routines and exercises, such as jumping jacks, squats, sit-ups, and push-ups, don’t require any equipment. And there are a variety of virtual workout classes available online.

Whether you’re braving the cold for a jog or working out indoors, staying active during winter is crucial for your overall well-being. Fortunately, the Philadelphia region offers endless ways to get moving!

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