Winter is here and it’s starting to get cold and when it’s cold it’s really hard to stay motivated about your health and fitness!!
When the seasons change your exercise program needs to adapt too. Maintaining a winter exercise routine can seem challenging especially if you live in a snowy cold or rainy climate. These tips will help you exercise safely outdoors in winter and figure out how to move your routine indoors when needed.
So consider the following.
Dress for the weather
Workout clothes are much more than just for aesthetics—they’re designed for the type of exercise you’re doing as well as the climate and weather that you’re training in. The most important elements to take into consideration for outdoor workouts are wind chill and precipitation. Layers will protect you on a cold, wind-free day, however, wind chills can easily penetrate thinner items of clothes, which is why wind-resistant materials are so crucial. Keep in mind that it’s not recommended to exercise outdoors when wind chill goes below -20F. And of course, if clothes are wet you’ll have no protection from the frigid temperature, so be sure to wear a water-resistant outer layer when it’s raining or snowing. Your workout wear should always be water wicking in the cold too, since sweat-soaked clothes can easily freeze.
Imagine a rubber band… it’s flexible, bendy, and pulls right back to its shape. Now imagine that same rubber band, but frozen. If you try to pull too hard before it’s thawed out, it’ll snap. Your muscles are like rubber bands, you need to gradually warm them up to prevent injury. Start by heating up your larger muscles, like quads and hamstrings, with light stretching, jumping jacks, and lunges indoors before heading outside. If you’re commuting to a class or gym, consider speed walking to get your heart rate up. That’s just one of the great reasons to make a stroll part your daily routine.
BEAT THE WINTER BLUES
Whether it’s the usual winter blues or the more serious SAD (seasonal affective disorder) putting a gloom over the colder months. A daily workout releases feel-good, de-stress brain chemicals, gives you a break from the daily grind and helps ease depression. Plus, if you combine exercise with the great outdoors you can cheer yourself up even more! We know that after exercise, the brain releases the “feel-good” chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which can help to reduce anxiety and depression while boosting wellbeing. 45 minutes in the day could change your whole outlook on winter!!
Opt for Bright Colors
Black may be chic, but bright clothes are better for outdoor exercise. Not only is it colder in winter, it’s darker too. Poor visibility from rain, snow, or overcast or dark skies makes it tougher for others to see you. This applies whether you’re sharing the road with motorists or sharing the trail or path with other snow-sports enthusiasts. Wear brightly colored clothing and gear whenever possible and consider purchasing reflective gear or blinking lights, Ridings says. Apart from helping others see you, wearable flashlights are great because they improve visibility for you, too, to help prevent missteps and falls.
Check Your Traction
Winter workouts can get slippery fast if any rain, snow, or ice is involved. If any of these elements are present, stay on plowed or salted surfaces. Back roads and trails may not be as well maintained, and may have hidden obstacles that could lead to ankle or other injuries. If you do plan to run or walk on snowy, icy surfaces, attaching snow or ice spikes to your running shoes will help you maintain traction to reduce the risk of falls, he says. But it’s important to stay off pavement if you’re wearing spikes. They’re designed to pierce snow or ice, so on paved surfaces they can impede balance instead.
Some people don’t feel as thirsty during cold-weather workouts as they do during warmer-weather workouts. But you’re still losing fluids through sweat and breathing in lower temperatures. And you still need to replace those fluids by drinking water. Sip water during your workout and switch to a sports drink, such as Gatorade, if you’re planning to exercise for 90 minutes or longer (and not fueling up with other energy gels or chews). But not overdoing it is important. No matter how much water you gulp down, your body tends to only be able to absorb three to four ounces at a time.
Don’t forget sun protection
Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t get burnt. Don’t skimp on the sunscreen! Continue wearing sun protection during daylight hours, regardless of the temperature. SPF is just one of the essentials that dermatologists always keep in their gym bags.