Starting Your Winter Workouts the Right Way

Winter is fast approaching, meaning the weather is already turning chilly. You may have started to wear a sweater or hoodie on your daily runs, and you can feel the chill in your lungs as you breathe deeply. Winter is a beautiful time of year to work out, but it's important that you do it the RIGHT way--meaning the safe way! Here's how to transition to working out in winter the smart way:

Warm Up for Longer

Did you know that your connective tissue (joints, tendons, and ligaments) are more likely to be injured during the winter? These tissues are far less elastic in the cold, so the risk of an injury is much higher when you work out in the cold. Instead of risking that injury, spend more time warming up and cooling down. If you're going to run or exercise outdoors, spend at least 15 minutes warming up before your workout. Even if you're working out in the gym, devote a solid 10 minutes to loosening up those muscles and joints beforehand. Never go out into the cold after a heavy workout, but cool down to reduce the tension in your joints and ligaments.

Bundle Up

You may hate wearing a sweater or jacket to do exercise, but the truth is that you MUST now that things have turned cold. More than any other part of your body, you need to worry about your torso. Keeping your chest warm will ensure that your core temperature stays at a healthy level, preventing hypothermia and reducing your risk of colds and infections. Wear a scarf over your mouth if the cold air is burning your lungs, and wear a hat to trap the heat close to your head. If the wind is biting, it may be time to take the workout indoors.

Consider an Alternative

Just because you love to run in the park during the summer and autumn months, that doesn't mean you should stubbornly insist on doing so through the winter. It's better to switch things up rather than risk injury or illness! If you have to run, hit the gym and spend time working out on the treadmill. You can also consider changing up your workout, signing up for dance classes, Yoga lessons, or any other type of exercise. All that matters is that you get a good workout in a safe environment!

Work Out When It's Warm

If you insist on working out in the great outdoors, make sure that you get your workout at the warmest time of the day. This is usually between 12 noon and 2 PM, as the sun starts to set around 4 PM during the winter months. If you can fit your workout in during these hours, you'll have the sunlight to keep you warm.

Keep an Eye on the Weather Forecast

When you wake up in the morning, check out your weather forecast for the day. If you see that it's going to be a chilly day, consider going indoors for the workout. If the weather promises a bright, sunny day, it's ok to work out outside. Just know what kind of weather to expect in order to be prepared for your workout.

Enjoy It

There's nothing more refreshing than running with a bit of chill, as it helps to keep you cool and takes your mind off the fact that you're running or jogging. If you are going to work out outdoors, enjoy the time you are spending doing the workout you love in the beautiful outdoors. It's a great way to take advantage of the beautiful weather in your city!

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