5 Ways to Stay Active Indoors This Fall and Winter

5 Ways to Stay Active Indoors This Fall and Winter During COVID

By Elizabeth Sile, BCRF

Millions of Americans struggle to find 30 minutes to exercise each day—and that's during normal, non-pandemic times. Now, add in an unprecedented back-to-school season, longer remote work hours and heightened stress because of COVID-19. For many people, physical activity is at the bottom of the priority list—if it's there at all.

Exercise has innumerable benefits. For women and men diagnosed with breast cancer, it can improve survival rates and even ease side effects of chemotherapy. For survivors, studies have shown that getting your heart pumping can help reduce your chances of reoccurrence. And for a woman with an average risk of developing breast cancer, it can help maintain a healthy weight and, as a result, reduce her risk of breast and other cancers. Research has also shown that regular exercise can improve immunity—a fact that could not be timelier during the COVID-19 crisis.

People have found creative ways to stay active while also practicing social distancing, whether by squeezing in a walk before logging on for work or joining a parking lot spin class. But as we approach colder months in much of the country, experts are predicting there could be a rise in cases as group activities move indoors.

Follow these five expert-backed tips from Lifetime's partner, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, to find ways to be active—and safe—from home this fall and winter.

Disclaimer: Before beginning any new exercise regimen, be sure to consult with your doctor.

Doing Something Is Better Than Nothing
Experts advise that most people should strive to get their heart rate up for about 30 minutes a day, or two and a half hours per week. But if you've only got time to jump rope for 10 minutes a few times a week, you will still reap benefits. Once you're doing something regularly, then you can work up to 30 minutes a day and increase the intensity.

Do What You Enjoy
Hate running? If you try to force yourself to complete a couch-to-5K program, you'll very likely give up in frustration. The proven way to stick with exercise: Give yourself permission to try different activities—and give up the ones you don't find fun.

When In Doubt, Walk It Out
Don't forget: walking counts. As weather permits, pop outside for even just a 10-or 20-minute walk around the neighborhood. You might even combine activities. If you love to read, for example, try listening to an audiobook while you hit the treadmill for a brisk walk.

Sleep In Your Workout Clothes
If the only way you will exercise is to do it first thing in the morning—before you're pulled in one million directions the rest of the day—go to bed in your sweatpants or leggings. That way you can roll out of bed, put your shoes on and get it done.

Focus on the Benefits
Need additional motivation? Very few people report that they feel worse after working out. Keep those feel-good vibes—along with exercise's breast cancer risk-reducing and immunity-boosting benefits—top-of-mind.

Elizabeth Sile is the Assistant Director of Digital Communications at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Our lives have changed, but what hasn't is our fight against breast cancer. Visit Stop Breast Cancer for Life to get information on mammograms during COVID-19, read personal breast cancer stories, watch thriver videos, find resources and more.