Winter is on its way, but that doesn’t mean your outdoor exercise routine has to end! Many of us question how to adjust our workout once the temperature drops, but we’ve got answers to keep you happy, healthy and warm while you break a sweat during the winter months. These Cold Weather Wellness Tips will keep you in tip-top shape as you brave the chill, whether you’re an avid runner going the distance, a seasoned athlete training to crush the competition, or anything in between. Let’s get started!
Weather Check: While exercising in the cold is generally safe, there are some conditions where caution is required. Temperatures below 0 Degrees Fahrenheit or wind chills below negative 18 Degrees Fahrenheit significantly increase the risk of frostbite on exposed skin. In fact, it can develop in as little as 30 minutes.
Layering Up: The first layer of clothing closest to your skin should be a synthetic material. This allows for moisture to be wicked away as you break a sweat and feel the burn! A couple extra layers on top will keep warm air insulating your body just enough to keep the chill at bay, and are easily removable if you start to feel the heat.
Don’t Forget Hands and Feet: The same layers mentioned above also pertain to your hands and feet. A thin, moisture wicking layer covered by a thicker, warmer material will help keep them warm and safe. And listen to your mother, don’t forget a hat!
Your Warm-Up Routine: Cold temperatures cause vasoconstriction and less blood flow to the muscles in our extremities. A proper warm-up routine, including walking or light calisthenics (jumping jacks, air squats, etc.), helps get the blood flowing back to your muscles. This increases flexibility and pliability and decreases the risk of injury when exercising in chilly conditions.
Hydration Station: Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean we don’t sweat! We just don’t feel it as much because sweat evaporates quickly in colder temperatures. In addition, moisture is lost as our bodies work to warm the cold and dry air that gets breathed in. Rule of thumb – hydrate in the chill of winter just as you would in the heat of summer!
Reap the Benefits: Cold weather increases our metabolism to help retain warmth, which can burn extra calories during physical activity! In addition, exercising in the cold increases the release of endorphins. Pair this will a little fresh air and sunshine, and you are on your way to feeling happier and healthier this winter.
We hope these Cold Weather Wellness Tips prepare you get outside this winter and stay active! Have questions? Chat with us on Facebook, Twitter, or give us a call at 609-904-2565.