Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you have an excuse to skip your workout. At the very least, you can run on the treadmill. However, done right, you can still enjoy an outdoors exercise session even when the temperature dips. I, for one, hate cold weather, so if I can make it work without being miserable, I’m all for it. Here’s how to do it right.
1. Choose Well-Lit and Well-Maintained Trails
Because the colder months mean darker days, it’s important to make a plan before you head out. In the early morning and evening, it’s dark outside so make sure you choose paths and trails that have lots of lights so you can see and be seen. Also, make sure the paths and trails are cleared of snow and ice. That way you can stay safe and still burn some calories.
2. Warm up inside to Get Your Blood Pumping
Before you hit the frigid temperatures outside, you want to warm your body up. The best way to do that is inside where the heat is blasting. Do a light jog in place for about 5 minutes and you’ll get your blood pumping and your core body temperature up so that you are ready to go when you head out.
3. Stay between Trees and Buildings to Fight the Wind
There’s nothing worse than a paralyzing wind when it’s already super cold outside. To help keep them away from you, choose a path that winds through buildings or trees to help take the sting out of it. Breathing really cold wind can be dangerous to your lungs, so be careful if the wind chill factor dips too low.
4. Make Sure You’re Still Drinking Lots of Water
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t become dehydrated. Make sure you sip before, during and after your workout to replenish your liquids and stay hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you so that you can drink up while you run, walk, jog or bike.
5. Don’t Go All out Right Away
If you’re not used to cold weather workouts, start small and build your skill and endurance. That means if you usually bike five miles every day, you might only be able to do three miles in the cold. Supplement your pared down workouts by doing more indoor stuff, like lifting weights or jumping rope, to keep your progress and results on track.
6. Wear Layers to Prevent Overheating
Yes, you certainly can overheat in cold weather. That’s why you should be dressing in layers. That way, you can remove a layer or two if you start to get too hot. And you can always put the layer back on if you get cold. This simple step will keep you from losing too much body heat, but allows you to regulate a cool down if it’s needed. You also want moisture wicking fabrics so you aren’t wearing wet clothing close to your body.
7. Cool down inside, Not outside
Just like you want to warm up when it’s frigid outside, you also want to cool down indoors. Slow down your exercise, then go inside and stretch before you take a shower and finish up your workout. This protects your body and muscles and ensures that your exercise session is as beneficial as it can be.
Do you work out when it’s freezing outside? What other tips do you have for making it as great as possible?