Healthy Pittsfield: Staying active in the winter

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Winter and the cold weather in the Berkshires should not stop you from aerobic outdoor fun. It is possible to be outside to enjoy your run, hike, walk or any winter activity without discomfort.

The key to being outside is to make sure you are protected from the elements. Many technical fabrics are the best for athletes. Cotton is a dangerous material to have next to your skin; it tends to hold on to moisture and makes the body work harder to maintain your core body temperature.

A proper set of clothes will allow heat to escape when necessary and also to hold heat in when facing dire cold temperatures, wind and snow. Correct outwear, base layers and footwear, including yaktraks, trail shoes and the like; will ensure your success to be a 365-day outdoor athlete.

Be prepared for the inclement weather, ice and snow. The Berkshires are as beautiful in the winter as it is all other seasons, get out there and enjoy.

Enjoyment can also be found in activities inside existing facilities. The City of Pittsfield Recreation Program has teamed up with the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsfield for free public skating opportunities this winter. The first 100 people through the door during the public skate receive free admission for skating, as well as free skate rental, if needed (limited size availability), on Saturdays, Jan. 9, 23 and 30 and Feb. 20. Public skate begins at 2 p.m. and lasts until 3:45 p.m. The Pittsfield Boys & Girls Club is at 16 Melville St.

For some of us, less daylight and colder temperatures may contribute to a decrease in mood and energy, causing less motivation to engage in the activities that may help us feel better.

Exposure to as much light as possible can help: walk outside on your work break even if it is only for a few minutes. Starting a weekend walking group or engaging a friend or coworker to join you can provide the support you need to get moving, even on days you feel more inclined to stay inside. Keeping walking shoes and layers/ hats / gloves at work will help to stay active throughout the season.

Pittsfield has many local indoor and outdoor opportunities for physical activity. For ideas on other ways to keep active, please review the Active Living Resource List that Healthy Pittsfield Partners developed at www.cityofpittsfield.org/city_hall/health_and_inspections/healthy_pittsfield

Also, for expert advice and local business support, visit Berkshire Running Center for all your needs, as well as the calendar of local, runs, walks, hikes and snowshoe events in the area. www.berkshirerunningcenter.com

Shiobbean Lemme is from the Berkshire Running Center and Becky Manship is the City of Pittsfield recreation activities coordinator, Healthy Pittsfield Partners.

This column appears in the Lifestyles section the second Sunday of each month. The Healthy Pittsfield Partnership is coordinated by the Pittsfield Health Department and Board of Health. Partners include community residents, business leaders, health and human service professionals, city officials and health advocates. The partnership is committed to community based initiatives that will improve the health and quality of life of Pittsfield's residents and workforce. For more information, visit www.cityofpittsfield.org/cityhall/healthand inspections/healthypittsfield.


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