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Q: I have been walking outside and love to garden. I can’t afford a gym. How do I exercise in the colder months?

Posted November 13, 2013 in Advice Column, Des Moines West

A: This is a great question, and a challenge many people face this time of year. Regular exercise is important for a myriad of reasons, but to keep it up during the winter we need to get a little creative. Of course, if you work in downtown Des Moines, there is the skywalk for lunch walks, and there’s always mall walking. But did you know, you can burn calories at home, too, without a lot of equipment?

Taking one flight of stairs 10 times gives you the same benefit as a half mile of walking. Stand more often, especially while on the phone, sit on a balance ball, put energetic music on while you’re preparing food, or doing housework — you’ll be moving more without realizing it. All these “non-exercise activities” can burn as much as 200 extra calories a day.

Of course, if you bundle up, use boots with good traction, or something like Yaktrax to help with icy conditions; you really can walk outside more than you probably think you can. And don’t forget to drink water.  It’s not always as evident that you need a lot of water in the winter, but it’s just as important.

Information from, provided by Dr. Cheryl Child, D.O., Certified Health Coach with Take Shape for Life.

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