The temperature might be dropping but that’s not a reason to stop enjoying the great outdoors.
Exercising in the fresh air has good-for-you benefits—just five minutes can boost your energy and mood. It might be cold, wet and dark outside, but exercising outdoors has some advantages.
Think positive~An outdoor workout is a great way to boost levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you remain positive as the nights get longer. Training in the cold motivates you to keep moving, as you need to create body heat to stop yourself getting cold. Not only does this mean you’re less likely to slow down while you’re running or walking, it also means you burn more calories as your body uses extra energy to stay warm.
Don’t dress for Siberia~Wearing layers is important, but don’t overdo it. Dress as though it’s 20 degrees warmer than the actual temp. You want to feel a little chilly when you start, once you get going, your body temp will rise, and you’ll feel warmer.
Warm Up Well~Getting your muscles ready for exercise is always important, but in colder weather, it’s essential. Always warm up for ten minutes. A dynamic warm up involving constant movement is best as it will raise your body temperature while increasing your heart rate. Make sure you stretch thoroughly afterwards while the muscles are still warm.
Protect Yourself~Start with a base layer top made of a sweat-wicking fabric like Dri-FIT. Running tights will keep your legs warm, but if it drops below 20 degrees, switch to a fleece-lined pair. Add a windproof yet breathable zippered jacket. If it’s below freezing, add a Dri-FIT middle layer. Cover your head, hands, nose and ears and always wear a moisturizer and lip balm to protect your skin and lips. If you’re exercising in the dark, make sure that you wear reflective clothes.
Keep your stride slip-free~Don’t be afraid to pound the powder unless it’s icy. The unstable ground adds resistance, making you engage your core and work your body harder. Just be sure to shorten your stride to prevent nasty slips and spills.
Try something different~Exercising in daylight and fresh air boosts both your mood and immune system and a brisk walk in your lunch hour is a great way to start. Or think about trying a new activity; go ice skating with your kids, on walks with friends or snow shoeing with a group. You’ll be having so much fun, you won’t even notice you’re working out.
Drink up~Drier air in winter can lead to dehydration, so don’t be sure to hydrate properly.
Get competitive~Children are rarely put off going outside by wind, rain or grey skies and even if they’re not fans of the cold, once they realize how much fun it can be, they’ll be dragging you off the sofa and outside every weekend. Outdoor exercise is a great opportunity to get the whole family to keep fit.
“Health is the thing that makes you feel that now is the best time of the year.”~Franklin P. Adams
What’s your favorite winter workout?