Depending on where you live, Covid-19 numbers may be lower or higher at this moment. Rules for social distancing and business operations vary from place to place. Global events, local rules, and your personal comfort level with being in public spaces have shaped your choices this spring and summer.

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, one change is coming… colder weather. This change feels huge to me, because being outside is one of my biggest sources of joy, peace, and health.

I live in South Carolina. I was born for heat and humidity. Even though I can appreciate the beauty of fall and winter, I do not enjoy cool, dry air or cold, wet air!

I’ve been preparing my mind and body for a shift to more indoor time and feel mindful of the fact I could easily slip into a funk as it gets colder and darker. Keep reading for three ways to stay healthy and sane during cool and cold weather quarantine.

Measure Your Movement

There’s a NEAT way to stay active in any season. NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. That’s a complicated term that means you burn calories when you’re doing non-exercise movements, even fidgeting.

Due to our movement restrictions during quarantine, we are missing a lot of NEAT. For example, we are not doing as many errands, social visits, or recreational shopping as before, and we’re missing those small calorie burns just getting in and out of the car, public transit, or walking down the sidewalk when we leave the house.

Using a fitness tracker can show us when we need to get some more NEAT, even if it’s just moving around the house.

If you’re already on the Fitbit, Apple Watch, or pedometer bandwagon, you know the power of that simple reality check. “It’s 4 pm, and I’ve only walked 438 steps?” The reality check can get me out the door for a walk, even if the weather is cooler than I’d prefer.

It’s also helpful to track our other health habits, such as hydration, nutrition, sleep, and digestion. A simple chart or weekly list of your priorities serves as a similar reality check, that will get you in action mode. With consistent attention, you can improve in all areas.

Cross-Train

Cross-training was first used for athletes who needed to do other types of conditioning to “round out” or balance the demand on their bodies from their main sport. My favorite ways to exercise are outside – hiking, swimming, cycling, and walking – when it’s warm.

In the winter, I tend to do more yoga, weight-lifting, and fitness classes. This is a very informal way to cross-train. I’m just asking my body to do a variety of new things.

Many active women over 60 are not comfortable going back to the gym or yoga studio yet. We can turn to online classes and courses to help us learn new skills and create new indoor routines this fall and winter.

Ask for Help

The challenges of this year have created so many divisions. You may be living alone. Even if you are living with others, you may be missing friends, extended family. Many of us feel the loss of simply seeing smiles while out in daily life, now that many faces are covered.

When it comes to fitness and physical activity, even if you had the motivation to exercise alone in the past, you may need some help and accountability now.

Reach out to a friend or family member. Ask them to be an exercise buddy or accountability partner. It doesn’t matter if you’re working on similar goals. Just agree to encourage and support each other.

If they are working on similar goals, you can agree to take an online yoga or fitness class together. There’s more accountability with a live class than a recording. Even though you won’t be in the same room, you’ll be doing the class at the same time.

If you live nearby, you can bundle up for a socially-distanced walk or hike.

And finally, it’s a good time to learn new skills by working with a coach or trainer. I’d love to help you if you’re ready to start that journey!

What are your plans to stay healthy and sane during cool- and cold-weather quarantine? Do you have alternatives to outside gatherings? How do you envision your autumn and winter seasons this year? We’d love to hear from you!

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