8 Tips For Exercising Outdoors in the Winter
The cold winter months have a way of casting a shadow on the lifestyles of millions— especially for those living in regions where snow blankets your usual workout canvas. Instead of seeing this as something that will hinder your daily routine, think of it as a fresh slate. You can still get outdoors and exercise (provided the conditions outside are safe for doing so). A little snow never hurt anyone! Here are our tips for grabbing the snow by the horns and showing Old Man Winter that it can’t stop you:
- First thing’s first— pay attention to the weather forecast. While it might seem like a fine idea to bundle up and get outside at any given moment, you can never fully know what to expect from Mother Nature during these chilly months. Check the weather before you head out to know if there are any advisories, ice warnings, wind chill warnings, or, if anything else, to know how many layers you want to wear.
- Stretch it out. The cold can cause injury to joints and muscles, and one of the easiest ways to prevent this is to just stretch out before you begin your workout to ensure you don’t overexert yourself.
- Pay attention to your body. Just like any workout, you want to be in tune with how you feel— but this holds especially true in colder climates, where frostbite can be a potential problem. If something doesn’t feel right, stop your workout and head home.
- Make sure someone knows where you’re working out, just in case— and make sure you keep your cell phone with you. If you DO get hurt, you can call for help, and you’ll have someone that will know where to find you.
- Keep hydrated. You still sweat, even when the temperatures might be telling you it isn’t possible. Drinking plenty of water will keep your blood flowing through your body, which will help you stay warm.
- Wear layers. You’ll be cold when you first start, but as you delve deeper into your sweat session, you may want to pare down on the layers. DON’T strip down to nothing— you will increase your chances of frostbite or hypothermia. Avoid cotton as a base layer, as it will absorb sweat and stay wet throughout your workout. This is a given for any workout, but avoiding cotton is a necessity to avoid when you’re working out in the wintertime. We also recommend a fleece zip-up or pullover, as well as a breathable outer layer.
- Keep it short and sweet. You may feel fine, but you want to reduce your risk of injury in this colder weather. The chilly air will be a refreshing welcome into your workout, but keep in mind that the winter can pose real danger if taken too lightly.
- Warm up! Make a nice hot cup of tea or coffee when you get home, and take a shower to wash off the sweat. Start off with lukewarm water and gradually increase the heat so that you don’t shock your system.