10 Ways to Commit to a Healthy Lifestyle This Winter
A healthy lifestyle has several short and long-term benefits, including academic success, mental well-being, reduced risk for disease, improved moods, and higher energy levels. However, across the country, many families find it difficult to stay active and maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI) in the midst of colder weather and holiday gatherings.
How can we work together to improve our healthy habits this winter? MHS students and staff shared 10 ways they’re staying active, both on campus and at home.
1. Plan creative indoor activities for younger children.
“We have gymnastic mats in our playroom where the girls like to be creative and exercise. They also like to have dance parties with the karaoke machine and come up with creative dances to various songs.” —Rhonda Ritenour, houseparent for elementary students
2. Create a goal that excites you.
“I love to take part in races and other events. In the past year, I participated in the Mt. Gretna Triathlon, ran the Hershey Half Marathon, and ran the Zombie 5K at Field of Screams. These races give me something to work towards and give me a sense of accomplishment when I finish them.”—Kaela Olson, MHS senior
3. Plan a weekend getaway where you can try new things.
“We recently camped at Spartan Meadows. It was an electronic-free weekend, and we hiked, played board games, explored with flashlights, and organized a series of ‘minute to win it’ activities. During our first hike, we found a log laying across a small stream. For the students who crossed the stream over the log, it was exciting to see their faces with this accomplishment.” –Sandy Helms, houseparent for high school students
4. Utilize campus fitness facilities.
“Use the school’s gym facilities through the after-school programs. Make sure you stretch for ten minutes a day and continue to drink a lot of water. If you’re a senior, try going to the PowerTrain gym—all seniors have memberships with their card.” –Sydney Tierney, MHS senior
5. Turn off the electronics.
“Almost every Saturday, we turn off all electronics and either go outside, attend an open gym, or spend time playing in the basement for two hours. We play four square together, and sometimes, we rent out gyms on campus to play basketball or speedball.” –Clare Ogle, houseparent for high school students
6. Take a walk or run.
“To stay active at home, I love to go on walks. Rain, snow, sleet, or sun, I don’t really care. I’ll throw on boots or grab an umbrella and go on long walks. It’s a good way to get some casual fitness and give myself some mental health time.” –Kaela Olson, MHS senior
7. Enjoy the snow.
“When it snows, our students go sled riding and play outside as much as possible.”—Rhonda Ritenour, houseparent for elementary students
8. Focus on nutrition.
“Stick to three solid meals a day and eat minimal snacks.” –Sydney Tierney, MHS senior
9. Find someone who can motivate you.
“It’s all about finding someone or something to motivate you. I don’t think it would be as easy for me to get up every morning to exercise if I didn’t have people rooting me on.” –Kaela Olson, MHS senior
10. Start training for a team event.
“We’re planning to do a triathlon this spring. So far, we have two girls designated as swimmers, two girls designated as bikers, one designated as a runner, and I will also run to make two relay teams.” –Kayla Smedley, houseparent for high school students