Winter may never be an exercise enthusiast’s favorite season to fit in an outdoor workout, but that doesn’t mean you can’t and get some benefits. Cold winter days and long nights can make it difficult to get out of bed, let alone work out. If you feel that your fitness habits have gone into hibernation, you can try out some winter workout tips and tricks to stay warm and injury-free during the cold weather months.
1. Wear Synthetic Fabrics While Working Out
The first of our winter workout tips is how you dress. The fastest way to lose heat is to get your body wet. Avoid it at all costs. Since water is an essential heat conductor, getting wet will quickly leave you chilled and uncomfortable. If you are cold and wet, you’ll want to cut short your workout for the day. It can also increase the risk of hypothermia, or you may also get frostbite. So, what’s the solution?
Get rid of activewear made from cotton that soaks up sweat and holds moisture. You should go for synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester, and polypropylene, that can dry incredibly fast. They soak up moisture 50% quicker than cotton can.
2. Dress in Layers
When you work out, your body generates heat. You will feel much warmer and start to sweat as you get further into your workout. As your sweat starts to evaporate, it pulls heat from your body, and you will feel cold.
Hence, the second of our winter workout tips is that you should dress in layers when heading out. That way, you can keep removing them as you start sweating and then put them back on if/as needed. Layers also will help trap in warm hair, which will keep you warm and cozy during outdoor exercise.
3. Make Sure You Stay Hydrated
Third on our list of winter workout tips is all about hydration. You might not feel thirsty when exercising out in the cold temperatures compared to the hot summer sessions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t become dehydrated. You must remember that you are still losing fluids through sweat and breathing, even in the lower temperatures.
So, make sure you drink enough fluid to keep yourself hydrated. The amount of water you need depends on various factors, such as your sweat rate and the overall weather conditions.
4. Protect Your Hands, Feet, Head, and Ears from the Elements
During the colder months, blood flow tends to get concentrated in your body’s core when you’re outdoors, which leaves your hands, head, and feet vulnerable to frostbite. Wear a thin pair of glove liners, which are made of polypropylene, under a pair of heavier gloves made lined with fleece or wool. Put on the thick gloves before your hand turns cold, and then remove the outer pad when it gets sweaty. It is also essential to protect your feet by wearing thick thermal socks and wearing a headband that protects your head and ears from the wind and elements.
5. Find an Exercise Partner
They may not like you at first, but winter workouts may grow on them.
Exercising alone during the winter months can force you to skip a session (or twelve). If you exercise with a friend or a group, there will be helpful peer pressure you can all benefit from!
Exercise partners provide social support and a nice distraction from the harsh elements. Hanging out with like-minded people will also boost your motivation to work out during the winter and help everyone stay on track with their results. If you don’t want to go outside, another one of the great winter workout tips would be to work out at home (indoors). Consider joining a Zoom call session or going live on Instagram, maybe? Perhaps you have a Peloton you can use?
6. Exercise When There’s Light Outside
In the winter, it’s dark in the morning and gets dark when people come back from work. The best time to work out is in the middle of the day when there’s peak light and no darkness. If the weather is comforting, you can also take a long brisk walk during your lunch hour, which will provide an added benefit of fresh air and help break up your day.
7. Mental Health Benefits
Many people have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is when people tend to feel low and depressed during a particular time of the year (around November through February). Exercise can cure certain aspects of stress and anxiety. It can make you feel less stressed and more relaxed. This is also known as seasonal depression, as people aren’t getting enough sunlight and natural vitamin D.
8. Warm-Up Properly
It’s imperative to warm up before exercise, regardless of the season. But it is more important to prepare properly when it’s cold outside. Dynamic warm-up sessions can help increase blood flow. The temperature in the muscles tends to decrease any risk of injuries. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity until your body is adequately warmed up and ready to perform.
9. Protect Your Skin
Winter is cold, as well as very dry. Drinking plenty of water and putting on moisturizer lotion or cream is vital for your skin during the winter season. You can apply Vaseline to the sensitive areas of your skin like the tip of your nose, nostrils, and ears for better protection.