Got cabin fever? Here is some motivation to shake it off.
Despite living in deep cold and much darkness during the winter months, Alaska—yes, Alaska!—has the number one spot in the U.S. in a recent Gallup study for people getting exercise. The northern state also is number one for well being, lowest stress levels, and lowest rate of diabetes. Health experts believe that these things are linked, that is: exercise=lower stress=high well being=less diabetes.
How do they do it? Do they seriously feel so cheerful from shoveling snow? A big part of Alaskans’ success must be acceptance of the cold. They probably don’t sit around and wait for summer to come. Why bother? It’s not going to any time soon. They manage to get out…despite the snow… despite frigid temps…. Many say it’s just an attitude.
West Virginia didn’t fare quite so well in the Gallup study. Suffice it to say we could get out a little more and move.
So here are a few tips for getting exercise, even in winter:
- If you are inactive, getting even a little exercise on a regular basis will improve your health.
- Exercise does not need to be hard or strenuous. Moving your body is the imporant thing.
- Regular exercise is more important than strenuous exercise.
- Make exercise fun so you will want to do it.
- Link exercise to an interest. Try geocaching, or bring some binoculars to look at birds.
- Plan variety: walk one day, shovel your driveway the next, sled the next.
- Invite a friend.
For more ideas and inspiration to get more exercise, there is a new organization in the New River Gorge area that has a mission to get West Virginians moving more. Here is what they sent us about what they are up to:
Active Southern West Virginia (ActiveSWV) was announced in January 2015 as a non-profit whose mission is to create opportunities for southern West Virginians who want to become more physically active.
Modeled after ActiveRVA, a successful program in Richmond, Virginia, ActiveSWV seeks to implement 5 priorities: Community Captains, Active Kids, Bike/Walk SWV, Event Training Teams and ActiveSWV Ambassadors.
An active Board that represents the YMCA, county school districts, business owners and the healthcare industry governs the organization. Its headquarters are housed within the offices of the New River Gorge Economic Development Authority (NRGRDA) whose support acknowledges the importance of a healthy workforce. Other supporting organizations include the West Virginia Physical Activity Plan and Try This WV.
On February 2, 2015 the first Executive Director of ActiveSWV, Melanie Seiler, started work out of the NRGRDA offices. Melanie is well known as an outdoor enthusiast and advocate for the region. Her first initiative will be to recruit Community Captains from each postal district in Raleigh and Fayette Counties. These Community Captains will encourage their friends, neighbors and co-workers to become more physically active by planning group outings for walking, biking, gardening and other exercise opportunities.
ActiveSWV is currently in the listening phase and will appreciate input from the communities it serves. It is important that programs are implemented that are realistic and sustainable.
For inquires, contact Melanie at 304-254-8115 or or on Facebook at Active Southern West Virginia.