Get Healthwise with Danny: Winter Workouts

DannyKnowsGraphic2Danny Gonzalez, RN for St. Mary Medical Center and Health and Wellness Coordinator for the Portage Township YMCA is here to answer all of your health-related questions. It's hard to know where to start when taking steps to better your health these days. Asking the questions are easy, but find the answers...that's another story. Lucky for us, Danny makes it easy with his clear and concise (and humorous) answers to our tough health questions. Get ready to get some knowledge dropped on you!

This week's question: What are the best exercises to do to keep me in shape during the winter?

St-Mary-LogoDanny G.: The same exercises that keep you in shape during the rest of the year: a mixture of steady state cardio, intense cardio, strength training, and recovery work. A good weekly routine is to spend two days a week doing steady state cardio (jogging/running or biking at a steady pace), two days working more intense cardio intervals (sprinting or doing rope workouts), and two days of strength training. Also, spend at least one day per week completely resting. Recovery workouts that target flexibility and muscle repair, such as yoga or stretching courses, are also a great idea. If you find yourself wanting to get connected in some type of program and/or amongst other people, the Portage Township YMCA is a great place to take part in classes, work with personal trainers, and more!

Winter Safety Considerations: It is important to take proper precautions when exercising in cold weather. "One of the biggest mistakes people make is dressing too warm," says Exercise Physiologist Jose Madrigal, EP, MS, of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation of St. Mary Medical Center.

"Exercise generates a lot of heat, which could make you feel much warmer than it really is. The solution is to dress in layers that you can remove as soon as you become too warm and then put back as needed." First, put on a thin layer of synthetic material, such as polypropylene. This will draw sweat away from your body. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin. Next, add a layer of fleece or wool for insulation. Finally, add a waterproof breathable outer layer. Consider wearing a scarf to warm the air before it enters your lungs.

"When it is cold, blood flow is concentrated in the body's core leaving the hands and feet susceptible to frostbite," adds Madrigal. Remember to always wear a hat, gloves, and extra thick socks. Limit your outdoor exercise to 30-40 minutes if the temperature is 35 degrees or less. If walking outdoors in cold weather is not an option, walking indoors at your local mall or at your local school gymnasium is a great way of continuing your exercise routine. Duration of exercise should be 30- 60 minutes and 3-5 days per week.

Stay warm and stay safe!


 Do you have a question for Danny? Send your questions to with the subject title: Attention Danny G. You can also contact Danny at the Portage Township YMCA by calling 219-762-9622.

*Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only and not intended as medical advice.