What you can do to get out from under your covers and stay safe in and out of the gym during the cold months.
While your friends may be content to sit inside, bundled up by the fireplace during the winter, you’re smarter than that. Hence why you’re on a mission to learn all there is to know about cold weather workouts. What should you know to make your workout as safe and useful as possible during the winter months? You’re about to find out.
Warm it up – regardless of whether you work out indoors or out, you have to get your body warmed up before getting down to business. As the cold weather can make it more difficult to get your body ready to move, spend some extra time getting your limbs limber. This goes for outdoor workouts, run and whatever to even doing at the gym workouts – hopping out of your cold vehicle and onto the workout floor can be dangerous. To do this, walk, bike, skip or row for a couple of minutes extra and allow your body to tell you when it’s ready to move faster. This is particularly important if you’re going to be exercising in the great outdoors.
You’ll also want to keep your body as warm as possible at every point in your workout. By dressing in layers, you can do just this. Of course, you’ll want to shed your layers rather quickly if you’re pumping iron or running on a treadmill indoors, but wearing a few thin layers on as you travel to the gym allows you to stay as warm as possible, which makes it easier to warm up before working out.
Choose wisely – more than any other time during the year, the winter months can be most difficult to maintain an exercise regimen. If you’re going to be dedicated through the cold, you’ll need to pick your exercises with care. You should also be sure to stay moving if you choose to exercise outdoors. Stand still for long and your body will begin to lose the looseness you worked so hard to achieve.
Have a hard time forcing yourself to work out in the great outdoors when your breath is visible? You’ll need to take it indoors. The first place you should turn is your gym. There, you’ll be surrounded by fellow fitness-minded folks who are doing what it takes to maintain good health in the face of freezing odds. When the gym isn’t easy to access, you don’t have to skip exercising. Simply get to your local mall for a walk or pop in an exercise video and get in some exercise at home.
After you’re done – following a good workout, your body should be plenty warm. But don’t let that warmth fool you into a false sense of security. Because once you walk outside, the sudden burst of cold air that greets you could undo all the warming up process you went through. Instead, protect your body temperature by bundling up after working out prior to going outside.
If your exercise took place outside, don’t allow your body to cool down outside. To stay safe, get inside as soon as your routine is over. Following a shower, dress yourself warmly in order to retain your heat and stay warm throughout the day. You should also drink some water after your shower for a little hydration insurance.
Drink it up – though you may not be dripping sweat from your head to your feet during a cold weather workout, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to stay well hydrated. In order to avoid becoming dehydrated before, during, and after your routine, you’ll need to keep a constant flow of liquids going into your system.
To do this, drink a glass of water before your routine. As you exercise, keep some water nearby to sip on. And when you’re finished exercising, drink even more. By doing this, you’ll protect yourself from the same risks that are present during warm weather workouts.
Replenish – if you are exercising outside, your body will need more calories to workout and to stay warm so if you are on a specific nutrition plan and require a certain amount of calories post workout…make sure to add a little bit more (right around 5-10% will do).
There you have it, five simple tips to help you exercise in the cold weather just a little bit better!
Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and the owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.