Advice on how to stay active during the wintertime

With finals week in the rearview mirror and the holiday season in full swing, Keene State students are about to leave campus for winter break. With this in mind, how can students remain active during the winter season and still relax after this semester comes to a close?

Dr. Fitni Destani, Human Performance and Movement Sciences faculty member, offered a few suggestions for how to comfortably stay active during the cold months.

According to Destani, the first step is to analyze what motivates you. “An important part about these activities is, you have to decide for yourself, do you require additional people to motivate yourself to be active? Or, are you self-motivated, and can you become active on your own? If you can become active on your own without the need of others, then the options are simply just get outside and start walking, and run and jog, and look at some of the scenery outside. It’s a beautiful world, and there’s lots to see,” he said.

With this in mind, the next step is what you should wear. Simply one bad pair of shoes can lead to sore and strained muscles. “One of the things to consider though, when you run or walk, is the surface. That can lead to you not wanting to run and walk down the road, because you might get sore, especially in the knee joints, because of the surface of the ground. So, if you’re running on concrete, as opposed to running on dirt, or if you’re going through trails, what’s important is the kind of footwear you have. So, wearing the proper gear is how you experience more joy in the activity, and what you have to do is wear the right clothes. So, the right layers, so that way you’re not cold, you’re still comfortable, you’re still fluid in your movement, and you’re not restricted in any way, so not to be bulky,” said Destani.

Destani commented that there are some outdoor activities that are more doable for some than others. “Obviously, the more expensive options are skiing and snowboarding. Hiking, in general, is still doable in the winter, going hiking and climbing. But those are specialized skills. And you have to really know how to navigate through the woods; I wouldn’t recommend necessarily going through the woods on your own.”

Destani added that these more difficult outdoor winter activities are where a good support system can come in handy. “That’s when you would need the social support to help support your passions. So, I would suggest if you’re needing social support, then really try to get a partner or friend, somebody that is willing to commit to a schedule. And you have to put it on your schedule. If you say ‘I hope… I will try to do these things…’ it won’t happen. You have to need it, and you have to make it happen by putting it on your schedule. So, that’s the thing that you’re going to do. And when is it going to happen? ‘It’s on my schedule; we’re going to do it,’” he said.

Destani continued, “And then there’s lots of things you can do with your siblings, your parents, in your backyard; think about what you have in your garage, right? Even if it’s some of the things you haven’t touched for a while, baseball glove, bat, whatever it might be, tennis ball, all of those things are great possibilities. You can get a pair of snowshoes pretty simply, so get some snowshoes and just go out there and walk around.”

So what if you can’t afford clothing or gear for these winter activities? Not to worry, Destani has some suggestions. “If you can’t afford some of those [clothes], then maybe other activity options are for you. So, what are some other things you can do? One I would say is, always understand what’s offered in your local town. So in your local town, there’s [probably] physical activitybased programming that’s available to you from the rec office, so you can go to your town’s rec office and find out some of the activities they are offering. And then there are other things you can do in terms of local gyms, YMCAs, boys and girls clubs that are available for you there. Ice rinks are a good opportunity to get out there and just start to be active.”

The cold can deter many from going outside to get active, so Destani mentioned some suggestions for indoor activities. “Games, bowling, there are ropes programs out there that are oriented towards getting people more active. Find your population. Find your age group and what they’re doing, and get involved with some of the things that they’re getting involved with. The elderly do a really good job; they know where their friends are and where they gravitate to, and they go there. So, your idea is the same: where do I go? Where are my friends? And where are they hanging out? Now, I get that a lot of them are probably doing video games and playing more electronically that way, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t do both, right? It’s just all a matter of how you use your time,” said Destani.

Piper Pavelich can be contacted at ppavelich@kscequinox.com

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