How to stay active when you’re cooped up indoors all day.
Snow days may make you dream of pulling on your fuzziest socks and curling up on the couch with Netflix and a mug of hot cocoa (piled high with marshmallows, of course). As cozy as that is, you might start to get restless—or downright stir-crazy— from being trapped within those frosted windows.
It’s not just your boredom you should consider. Long periods of sitting can be harmful to your physical and mental health, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). In addition to squeezing in regular cardio and strength training, the ADA recommends using every possible chance to get on your feet and move around—stretching, chair exercises, pacing, and more. These low-effort calorie burners don’t sound like much, but they accumulate throughout the day and may help prevent chronic diseases or manage blood sugar levels.
If you want to get your daily steps in but can’t stand the idea of busting out the shovel or trying to scrape the inch-thick layer of ice off your car, rest assured: You’ve got warmer and dryer options. Here are some of the ways you can keep busy without leaving the house.
Catch up on laundry. If you’ve got a machine in your home or apartment complex, now’s the perfect time to tackle those ever-growing piles. Don’t forget those pesky hand-wash items. Step it up a notch and do this 9-minute laundry day workout while your whites are in the dryer.
Clean out the junk room or closet. Everyone has that one closet that’s filled with shelves and boxes of god-knows-what. Stop procrastinating. Now’s your chance to empty out those shelves and reorganize (and throw out those random cords you haven’t used in eight years).
Sweep and mop the kitchen (or ALL the rooms). Blast the music and get yourself in the mood for cleaning dance party. This is a task that’s easy to let slide, but you shouldn’t. Food crumbs can obviously invite unwanted guests to your home, and dust and pet dander can accumulate and aggravate allergies, asthma, or eczema. (Learn other common asthma triggers here.)
Hit the sheets. Um, having sex burns calories. (Maybe not as much as your favorite HIIT class, but still.) That’s a scientific fact. Orgasms have health perks that go beyond working up a sweat. And no, you don’t need a partner.
Meal prep for the week. You keep saying you’d “try this whole meal-prepping thing” if you had the time on weekends. Well, here’s the time you’ve been looking for. You get bonus points for skipping the food processor and chopping veggies (or whipping egg whites) by hand. Each half an hour of cooking burns around 90 calories for a 155-pound person. This meatless chili is perfect for snowy days and reheating throughout the week.
Dance. Fast or slow, alone or with a partner, with or without the kids, dancing is a great way to stay on your feet and destress.
Walk (or run) the stairs. If you’ve got a staircase in the house, you already possess one of the best pieces of workout equipment possible—no gym membership necessary. Ten minutes of stair-stepping can burn around 70 calories for a 155-pound person.
Play charades. Get your kids off their iPads with this family friendly activity. Keep this even more active by staying on your feet even when it’s not your turn to mime.
Rearrange the living room furniture. Stay with us on this. Unhappy with your couch arrangement? Carve out an hour or two to move things around (and use this opportunity to finally sweep or vacuum underneath the sofa—you know it’s been a while).
Do a guided workout online. This one’s a no-brainer. If you’re looking for something a bit more strenuous, an online workout is the perfect sub for actual gym time. Try out this low-impact, 8-minute cardio routine that doesn’t require a treadmill or this 10-minute yoga to stretch out your hips. (You know you’ll need that after sitting through a couple movies.)
Organize (or reorganize) your fridge. Kitchens tend to get cleaned more regularly than other rooms in the house, but the fridge itself is often neglected. Well, that ends today. Take out the expired jars of mustard, throw away the moldy leftover chili that got lost in the back, and scrub down those grimey glass shelves. Here’s how to set up your fridge to help you lose weight.
Walk and talk. Call up your bestie from college, your sister, or your parents, and pace the house as you talk. If you’ve been procrastinating calling the insurance company, maybe now’s your chance to dial ‘em up (good luck with that).
Daring to venture outside on a crazy snow day? Avoid these snow shoveling mistakes (they can stress your heart!).
Be more active throughout the day. Arlington, VA: American Diabetes Association, 2017. (Accessed on January 26, 2018 at http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/types-of-activity/be-more-active-throughout-the-day.html.)
Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Medical School, 2017. (Accessed on January 26, 2018 at https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/calories-burned-in-30-minutes-of-leisure-and-routine-activities.)