Local health expert suggests ways to keep moving, stay in shape during North Country winters
Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 7:17 pm

By SARAH BENTLEY-GARFINKEL

Mid winter can be a hard time to keep moving and stay in shape in the North Country. Skiing, skating and sledding are great ways to have fun and be active, but sometimes schedules or weather conditions don’t permit us to get outside. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to keep your body up and moving during the winter months.

In an office environment, a purchased or homemade standing workstation allows you to get out of your chair while still focusing on work. Research shows that standing for even part of a work day burns more calories and is better for concentration, back health, and mental acuity. Adjustable workstations offer the option to sit or stand, allowing you to change position over the course of the day.

Standing and movement can be built into the school day as well. Brain breaks, or brief bouts of activity offered throughout the day, facilitate learning and improve attention while getting students up and active. A “standing room only” class is a fun change in the regular routine. Dance parties or themed scavenger hunts - think hunting for hearts on Valentine’s Day - can be held to recognize birthdays or holidays in the classroom.

At home, there are many simple ways to increase activity during the long winter. Make a habit of standing during television commercials. When sitting at the computer, consider setting a timer at regular intervals for a stretch break. Simple children’s games such as Simon Says and Mother May I can be played indoors – and Twister is a hit with all ages.

Whether at work, school or home, there are many ways to increase the amount of activity in your day. Visit the Health Initiative at gethealthyslc.org to find resources and programs to help you be active all year round.

Sarah Bentley-Garfinkel Healthy Schools New York Director at the Health Initiative, 6439 SH 56, Potsdam.