Srinagar: Do you hate going to the gym especially freezing Kashmir winters? And do you find exercising at home boring and dull?
If the answer is yes, try these outdoor activities that can help you stay fit in the cold winter months:
- Walking or jogging
Walking is always a safe bet for staying in shape during the winter months. As doctors advise avoiding morning walks, you can always go for a walk in the afternoons. And if you are younger and still want to walk in the mornings, avoid the wee hours and make sure you are wearing warm clothes.
Also, don’t forget to cover your face as getting facial palsy is common in the winters after sudden exposure to cold. And be careful of the slippery ground. While a brisk walk is a great way to have a healthy heart, people with knee or bone/joint issues should avoid jogging. A major benefit of brisk walking/ jogging in the winter months is that when you are cold, your body burns fatter to keep you warm. Experts call the process ‘non-shivering thermogenesis, which means more calories being burned overall.
Cycling in winters is not just a great way to stay fit but also a major stress buster. Just be careful of the slippery ground and avoid cycling in the early morning. And while wearing warm clothes is a must, taking quieter roads can keep you away from busy vehicular traffic. Ride in a safe and alert manner and always be aware of your environment.
Kashmir valley had discovered its lost love for cycling during the Covid lockdown last year and there is no reason why you should stop cycling during the winter months. You can also cycle to your office or to the market to buy groceries. However, avoid cycling to the office in case there is an adverse weather forecast.
- Wood chopping
In Kashmir, it is common to get trees pruned ahead of the winter months. We usually hire labourers to chop the wood for our ‘hamam’, but why not do it yourself? Wood chopping not only keeps you fit but also can help in building muscles. It is a great exercise for your core and can give you those packs of muscles around your stomach if done regularly.
Wood chopping is an astoundingly effective combination of strength, speed, cardio, agility, and flexibility that can benefit almost any athlete. Because you are swinging an axe, many think that splitting wood is only a great arm workout. However, this is not the case. Burning between 400 and 500 calories an hour, splitting wood is much more of a cardio and core workout than anything else. And yes, it will build your arms, shoulders and back muscles too.
- Snow related activities
When it snows, people feel they cannot exercise. And yet again, we hire a labourer to clear snow on the path of our lawn. Clearing snow is a great exercise that also builds strength. However, be careful while clearing snow. Make sure your stomach is not full and that you have not suddenly come out of a warm room.
Do a proper warm-up before chopping wood or clearing snow. Both chopping wood and clearing snow require a lot of strength and you should avoid the same in case you are not used to doing heavy exercises. And do not forget the ‘sheen jung’. Play with your kids and besides the snow fights, do not forget sculpting a snowman. Now, snow-sculpting is an art and a snowfall should not stop you from exercising. Also, clear the snow off the trees in your compound yourself. This too is a great exercise.
Mountaineering and trekking clubs are booming in the Kashmir valley these days. There was a time when just the J&K Mountaineering and Hiking Club was active in Kashmir. However, of late, several clubs have mushroomed. You can join any of these clubs and trek in a group.
These clubs usually organise programmes on Sundays. It has not snowed majorly in the plains yet and you can enjoy mountaineering on Sundays or even weekdays if free. Last year, some clubs were mountaineering even in snow. However, make sure you have the right trekking gear and go to the mountains with experts only in case you want to do mountaineering in snow. Do not let the winter gloom keep you away from exercising. In fact, winter is a good time to stay fit if the right options are chosen.