Is your outdoor fitness routine dormant because of the cold weather? Don't put off going outside until spring.
Whether you've been a regular outdoor runner for years or you've just started a new exercise routine, the freezing temperatures and foul weather of winter force many people indoors for the season. Exercise can help combat the winter blues, increase energy, and prevent weight gain during the time of year when most people add extra insulation. While exercising outside in the winter can be perfectly safe, it does require some extra precautions.
Here are 4 cold weather fitness tips to stay safe, warm and fit.
1. Wear the right gear
The most important thing to remember when doing, well, anything outside in colder weather is to dress appropriately. You'll want clothes that fit you properly for whatever activity you're doing, and you'll want to be prepared for the cold air. Consider layers that can be removed and worn later for more active events such as running, allowing you to more comfortably and safely balance rising body temperatures with cold air temperatures.
2. Breathe Right
If you've ever worked out in cold weather and felt your heart rate rise, you know how different it feels compared to working out in warm weather. Because of how your body reacts to cold, dry air, breathing can actually hurt. Breathing exercises will help you increase your lung capacity and allow your lungs to hold more oxygen.
3. Drink Up
Even if you don't feel thirsty, your body is still working hard when you exercise outside in the cold, so drink plenty of water. If you plan to exercise for 90 minutes or more, drink water during your workout and switch to a sports drink, if possible. Simply remembering to drink more water during the winter can help prevent dehydration. Drink plenty of water and replenish your fluids, especially after or during physical activity.
Warming up is essential when working out in the winter. With a proper warm-up, you actually increase the temperature of your muscles. This increase in muscle temperature loosens the muscle tissues and makes it more elastic. Hence, preventing injury. However, make sure that all warm-ups include low-intensity movements that mimic the exercise you're about to perform.
Adopt these healthy habits, and you will stay fit and toned throughout the season.