Victoria Smith, certified personal trainer, Sports Academy and Racquet Club

AS WE EMBARK on a new year, remember to take time for yourself. A happy healthy body leads to a happy healthy life. Choose now to invest in yourself. As you follow the following simple steps on how to stay active in the winter, you’ll find that you have more energy, a clearer mind, and a greater ability to savor life’s simple joys:

snow fun1. Have a goal. Having a goal can keep you focused this winter and motivate you to take control of your life. Your goal should be simple, specific, attainable, and time-bound. For example: “I want to lose 10 pounds by spring break by exercising five days a week and limiting my sugar intake.” Put your goal up in a place where you can see it. Tell your friends about your goal. Better yet, set your goal WITH a friend. You’re more likely to achieve your goal if someone else is doing it with you or holding you accountable.

2. Limit screen time. When it’s cold outside, it’s easy to curl up in a blanket and jump onto social media, binge watch your favorite Netflix show, or do extra work while the kids are at school. A study done by Active Health shows that too much screen time leads to increased weight, neck and shoulder pain, decreased productivity, and a lower self-esteem. Don’t let this happen to you! Take control of your day by setting personal limits on screen time.

3. Own the choice to be active. Choosing to live an active lifestyle can be as simple as taking the stairs at work, parking farther away from the store, going on walks after dinner, sledding with the kids, ice skating for a date, snowshoeing in the canyon, or dancing on the Wii. Use a fitness tracker or your phone to keep track of your steps. In the winter, it’s easy to go into hibernation mode without realizing it. Get your heart rate up, take the longer route, and make the choice now to live an active lifestyle every day.

4. Stay hydrated. Drinking a healthy amount of water will help you to eat in moderation (by making you feel full), digest food properly (by removing toxins and waste), regulate body temperature, sleep better, and improve overall mood. Try drinking eight ounces of water an hour before every meal, or two-to three cups per hour. According to a study by Medical News Today, drinking water increases calories burned. Most people don’t drink as much water in the winter because it’s not as warm out. Remember that your body still needs lots of water to function and be healthy. In fact, by the time an average person feels thirsty, they are already dehydrated.

5. Sign up for a local gym or personal trainer. When it’s cold outside, it can be hard to live a healthy lifestyle. Going to a local gym can provide you with the tools and equipment to stay (or get) in shape. Having a personal trainer helps you learn new principles, reach your goals, prevent injury, and stay accountable. Sign up for something that’s harder to quit.

Ben Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Make goals to push yourself through the winter. Set limits on your personal screen time, choose to live a healthy lifestyle, drink more water, and sign up with a local gym or personal trainer to help you accomplish these goals.