7 Low-Impact Exercises to Prevent Winter Colds

Kristina Brooks | Feb 4, 2015

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Chicken noodle soup and vitamins aren’t the only way to fight off colds. Studies show that aerobic exercise can be an effective way to avoid catching a cold or the flu. These seven low-impact aerobic exercises can be done all winter long to boost immune health and even help with the winter blues.

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Dancing

Dancing works many of the muscle groups in a short amount of time. It’s also a fun activity, which takes some of the stress off your heart rate. Best of all, it can be done at home, on a night out or during an aerobic dance class. If dancing isn’t for you, Pilates and yoga are great options that work muscle groups in a similar way.

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Swimming

Swimming is another good exercise that works all the major muscle groups at once. It’s also a quick way to release endorphins that can boost your mood. Breathing and consistency are key in this exercise, which makes it one of the best ones to get your blood pumping. Sign up for indoor lap swim or take a lower-impact swim aerobics class.

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Taking walks

Walking is one of the easiest and most convenient aerobic exercises there is. Take a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes of your lunch break a few days a week or opt for the elliptical while at the gym. Ellipticals have less impact on your knees than a treadmill. Make sure to walk at a slightly faster pace than normal to keep your heart rate up and enjoy the fresh air by deeply breathing.

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Ice skating

Most people go ice skating around the holidays or as a fun date idea, but skating provides numerous health benefits. Skating mostly targets leg muscles and balance, but your heart and lungs get a major workout as well. Strengthening these organs can even help prevent heart disease.

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Indoor sports

Basketball, racquetball and tennis are great year-round aerobic workouts because they can be done indoors during the winter. These are also social activities, which is a fun way to meet new people while getting a full-body workout. Sign up for a local league or invite friends for a pickup game. Make sure to stay well-hydrated when engaging in these sports and work at a pace that’s right for you.

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Cycling

Cycling or spin classes work the arm, shoulder and leg muscles, as well as the core. By engaging in one swift leg movement and keeping your upper body steady, you can really target aerobic strength. Avoid getting out of breath too quickly by breathing in and out through your nose or through pursed lips.

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Rowing

Row machines are easily adjusted to different resistance levels and target the back muscles. Since there aren’t a lot of varied movements, rowing is one of the best ways to target your heart rate. For the best aerobic workout, try to coordinate breathing and rowing. Exhale when pulling (drive) and inhale as you release to start (recovery).