Just because the weather’s cold out, that doesn’t give you an excuse to ditch your winter workouts! Of anything, winter is the time when exercise is even more important, because that’s when we’re most likely to sit around indoors, watching TV and munching on delicious treats. Working out in the cold can be difficult, but you’ll find it’s not as hard as you’d expect. Here are a few tips to help you do your winter workouts like a boss:
Always wear at least an extra layer or two when you work out in the outdoors. A warm sweater or jacket isn’t enough to keep out the chill, especially once you start sweating. Try to wear at least one undershirt, an overshirt, and a sweater or hoodie on top of everything. If it’s really cold, consider wearing a thick jacket on top of the ensemble. Use a scarf, a hat, gloves, thick shoes, and possibly even a pair of thermal underwear beneath your pants. Keeping your limbs warm helps you to get through the workout more efficiently.
Pick a Smart Location
If you’re working out in a very windy place, you’re going to have a much higher risk of getting chilled. If you run on slick or icy roads or in low light conditions, your risk of getting hit by a car sliding off the road is much higher. Think safety when working out in the winter, and try to avoid running against the wind as much as possible.
Keep Your Extremities Warm
It is of the utmost importance that you keep your hands, feet, head, ears, nose, and throat warm as you run. If your hands and feet are cold, your body will expend extra heat to warm them up, else you risk frostbite and hyperthermia. Use thick gloves, at least two pairs of socks, thick running shoes that are waterproof, a hat, and a scarf. If necessary, wear a face mask to protect your nose and mouth, as well as your windpipe from the cold air. Warmth is crucial for outdoor workouts.
They say that exercising with cold muscles is the quickest way to injure yourself, and it’s even more true during the winter. Even once you get started working out, your muscles will still be tighter and stiffer than they would be during a hot summer. Make sure to stretch well and give your muscles a good loosening and limbering up before you run, lift, or train.
Protect Your Lungs
When you breathe in a lot of cold air, your body has to expend energy trying to warm it up, as well as more energy keeping you warm in the cold. This can use a lot of energy and contribute to workout fatigue. Cold air can also increase your risk of catching a cold or getting sick. Try working out with a ski mask, balaclava, or a face mask that blocks out cold air.
One of the biggest mistakes people make with winter workouts is forgetting to drink water. Just because it’s cold out and you’re surrounded by snow, that doesn’t mean your body needs any less water. On the contrary, you actually need more water than normal because of the dryness of the cold weather. Try to drink at least a liter of water before, during, and after an intense training session. That way, you’re always giving your body the fluid it needs. Even if you aren’t soaked with sweat like you would be in summer, your body still needs water to avoid dehydration.