Maybe you’re not a gym enthusiast, or maybe your preferred form of exercise naturally takes place outdoors. Whatever the case, don’t let the country’s cold temps stop you from keeping your workout goals. You can enjoy an outdoor workout and stay safe and healthy during the cold winter months if you follow these tips:
1. Keep an eye on the temperature . . . and the wind chill, precipitation, and cloud cover. A 20 degree day is very different from a 20 degree day with a windchill. Likewise, trying to go for a run where it starts sleeting halfway in won’t do any good for your health or safety. If the conditions outdoors prevent you from safely exercising, it’s best to find an indoor activity to do for a few days until better weather arrives (yoga, weight lifting, or a gaming system workout game are all good choices). Sub-zero temperatures could prevent your body from being able to maintain a comfortable internal temperature, while precipitation and wind can come right through your clothing. In extreme cases, you could be subject to frostbite or hypothermia, and no workout is worth that.
2. Layer up. Chances are, if you wear layers, you’ll be able to endure winter temperatures far better than if you just put on one layer of thick winter outerwear. Why is this? As you exercise, your body will create more heat, and even if you are outside in cold temperatures, you will begin to sweat. The problem with just one thick layer is that as your body heats up, there will be no happy medium temperature-wise. If your clothing is too thick and warm and you begin to sweat, you can’t remove layers of clothing to help your body cool down, and your sweat may cause you to become chilled. Layer up with materials such as fleece, wool, or synthetic fabric that you can add or remove as needed.
3. Don’t forget your exposed parts. Covering your hands, head, and neck with hats, gloves, scarves, and face masks is key in really cold weather. Also, you may need to layer gloves and mittens, a couple pair of socks, and hats with earmuffs or a headband to give yourself the best cold weather protection. If you’re doing an extended activity such as skiing or snowshoeing, buying the hand and foot warmers to put in your shoes, pockets or gloves will help keep you from losing warmth in those vulnerable areas.
You don’t have to face months of boring indoor exercise – or give up on working out all together – if you’re the type of person who feels refreshed and recharged in the great outdoors. You can get great workouts and stay safe with some common sense winter workout tips. Get out there and enjoy all Mother Nature has to offer during the winter season, and when you get back inside, don’t forget to relax with a mug of hot tea or cocoa, and a roaring fire!