How's your New Year's resolution coming along now that we're three weeks into it??

The American Heart Association and Centerpointe Mall in Grand Rapids have set the course for our winter fitness.

The snow outside shouldn’t mean you give physical activity the cold shoulder.  Walking for health can be done indoors or out.  The American Heart Association encourages walkers to explore the Start! Walking Path within Centerpointe Mall.  Walkers are encouraged to walk the nearly one mile length of the mall where Start! signs are placed strategically at quarter mile markers.  The mall is open to walkers from 6:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday and at 7:30 a.m. on Sundays. Now, through February, the first 300 walkers who visit the concierge desk can pick up a Winter Walking tip sheet from the American Heart Association. Centerpointe Mall is located at the intersection of 28th Street and the East Beltline in Grand Rapids.

The association also offers tips to those beginning a walking program.  Thirty minutes of walking most days of the week is enough to start improving your heart health and you don’t have to do it all at once. If 30 minutes feels like too much, you might want to ease into your routine. For the first week try walking for 5–10 minutes at a time. On each subsequent week add 2–3 minutes until you’ve reached a full 30 minutes. Split that half hour into two 15-minute segments or three 10-minute segments and you can still derive the same benefits. The important thing is to keep moving – every step counts! If weight loss is a goal, you may want to increase your walk to at least 45 minutes to an hour. Maintain a moderate pace. That means walking about 1.5 to 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour.

Is walking outdoors more appealing to you? You can usually work out outdoors even when the weather outside

is frightful. Just remember to:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. It’s easy to become dehydrated in cold weather because you don’t realize you’re sweating or don’t want to drink cold water. But you need to drink as much in cold weather as you do in hot weather. Drink water or sports drinks while you exercise to lower your risk of dehydration.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages before and after you exercise. Alcohol gives an initial feeling of warmth, because blood vessels in the skin expand. Heat is then drawn away from your body’s vital organs.
  • Check the temperature and wind chill. The wind can remove warm air that surrounds your body. Any activity that increases motion also increases wind chill. If the temperature or wind chill is below zero, exercise inside.
  • Dress in layers. If the temperature is moderate, you may want to adjust your clothing as you walk.
  • (American Heart Association - West Michigan)