Too often as the weather turns cold, people’s exercise habits disappear. Gone are the long warm (hot) summer days when it is easy to be outside early before or even after work. The short days and cold weather tend to lead to greater motivational challenges for many. Winter is but days away officially. So it time to think about how to stay active the next few months.
For those outdoor enthusiasts, the cold may be less likely to stop you. For those who don’t enjoy the cold, this may not be your season. However, there are still activities to do.
Activities such as downhill or cross country skiing, ice hockey, ice skating are all in-season now. But just because it may be cold out does not mean running or even hiking/walking are out of the picture. You just may be more selective about time of day you choose to be outside. Personally, when able I attempt to get a mid-day run in when the sun is high in the sky and the day is warmest. Even if it is cold when you step outside, you will warm up quickly if you are active and moving
Now for a few safety tips for exercise this winter.
- Dress in layers- be prepared to take one off as you get warm with exercise. You don’t want to be sweating too heavily.
- Hat and gloves to protect your skin against frostbite
- Even though it is cold- you still sweat- HYDRATE
- The cold air may turn you into a mouth breather with exercise stealing a greater amount of moisture from your body- HYDRATE
- Physical exertion in the cold can put just as much strain on the body as when it is hot
- Be mindful of snow and ice- obvious falling hazards with any number of painful outcomes
- Proper footwear for good traction
Don’t let the cold weather keep you inside this winter. Get out and be active. Find an exercise partner to help distract you from the cold and keep you accountable for exercise. Don’t lose all those gains you made since last spring when the weather was warmer. And if you really just can’t tolerate the cold weather exercise- hit the gym to maintain your fitness this winter.