It’s important to stay active year-round and as the temperatures drop, it can be a challenge. Maybe in past years, you had no problem switching to indoor workouts, but let’s face it, 2020 has forced us to stay inside more than we have ever wanted.
So whether you now work from home and need to get outside, or you just love breathing in fresh air for exercise, let’s explore tips to keep you on the move during the winter season.
1. Wear Multiple Layers.
Naturally, as you exercise, your body generates heat. This can make you feel like it’s warmer than it actually is, and you’ll begin to sweat. As your sweat evaporates, it pulls heat from your body and you feel chilled.
So what’s the solution? Dress in layers. When you layer your clothing you can remove it as you start to sweat and put it back on as needed. Layers also help to trap warm air, keeping you nice and cozy.
Here’s how to layer up for those winter workouts:
Base Layer – The most important job of a base layer is to move sweat away from your body so that it can evaporate, rather than cause clamminess and chafing—so start with a thin base.
Middle Layer – If it’s really cold outside, add in a middle layer.
Outer Layer – This protects you from wind, snow, and rain. There are numerous options for water-resistant clothing, which is your best option when facing the elements.
You might not feel as thirsty during you’re working out in the cold, but you will still lose fluids through sweat and breathing in lower temperatures. Don’t skimp on the water. Make sure you drink enough to keep you hydrated. The amount of water you need depends on a lot of different factors, so always drink up before your workout and again after, to replace what has been depleted. Be on the lookout for dehydration, such as thirst, unusual fatigue, lightheadedness, headache, dark urine, dry mouth, infrequent urination, or an unusually rapid heartbeat.
3. Dress Dry.
Having wet fabric against your skin will pull heat away from your body, leaving you cold and miserable! This is because water is an efficient heat conductor—it moves heat away from the warmest area (your body) to the coldest (outside). So when you head outside to shovel that snow, keep your clothes dry.
You should always avoid cotton when trying to stay dry—it soaks up sweat and rain and holds in moisture. Try synthetic fibers, like polyester, nylon, and polypropylene. These are light and are designed to dry quickly.
4. Join a Group.
If the cooler temperatures leave you unmotivated, find an accountability partner or join a group. When you work out with others, you are less likely to hit that snooze button if you’ve got a friend waiting for you. Winter sports, like skiing, snowshoeing, and even sledding, give you quite the workout and there is nothing wrong with having fun while you are burning calories.
5. Create Your Own Workout
If the weather is too rigid or messy, you can watch a workout video or you can create your own workout routine with all your favorite moves. Here are a few to get you started:
- High knees
- High kicks
- Jump rope
- Jumping jacks
6. Plan ahead.
Be prepared to switch out your plans if you end up working late and it’s too dark to go for that run, or if it is icy and dangerous to go out. Have a backup plan like a workout video. Create a YouTube list of your favorite workout videos that you can easily go to when you need a backup fitness option.
If you are working toward losing weight, it may take some time. Don’t give up just because the results aren’t immediate. However, the mental health benefits happen almost immediately. Those that are physically active tend to feel better, experience less stress, and feel more relaxed, which is important during the holiday season and a time when many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder.
7. Exercise with your dog.
Don’t forget that your furry friend still needs exercise too. If it seems that your dog does not want to walk outside on the cold ground, it could be because it stings their paws if they are dry or cracked. Dog booties are the perfect solution, but give Fido some time to get used to them inside the house first by offering him treats and praise. A second option would be to put some petroleum jelly on their paw pads and be sure to wipe it off when you return home to prevent them from licking it.
Avoid that winter weight gain and get up and get moving! The holiday treats aren’t going anywhere, so if you are going to indulge, then you need to increase your activity.
So, what are you waiting for? Bundle up and get out there!