The key to maintaining your workouts during winter months is safety and reasonable expectations. Small steps such as moving your routine indoors may make it more comfortable as the cold air can irritate your lungs. It also takes time to acclimate to the change in weather. If you prefer to work out outdoors, starting slow with limited exposure to the cold can give your body the needed time to adjust to new conditions. As you become more comfortable with the climate, you can increase the time spent and activities done outside. Here are a few tips for staying safe outdoors.
Staying Well Hydrated
It’s important to stay well hydrated while you’re exercising, even if you’re surrounded by cold temperatures. It is recommended that you drink between 15 to 20 ounces of water two hours before your workout, another eight ounces 15 minutes prior to going out and eight ounces every 15 minutes during your routine.
Dress for Success
Dressing in layers allows you to contain body heat at your comfort. Wear layers that you can easily remove as your body warms up. A practical choice for workout wear would include:
- Moisture-wicking: Start with a thin layer of moisture-wicking material like polypropylene next to your skin. Avoid cotton if possible as that will quickly soak up sweat, creating a wet layer underneath your other clothing.
- Fleece or wool: A layer with fleece or wool creates insulation; consider a fleece vest or wool sweater.
- Waterproof layer: A breathable, waterproof top layer, like a fall jacket, is essential for any unexpected weather.
Give your feet, ears and hands extra attention, since they are prone to frostbite. Wear gloves, socks, and a hat or full ear protection. Without proper protection for the cold, your extremities may become numb, and your joints may quickly stiffen up. These signs of the onset of frostbite.
You may find outdoor exercise is too difficult to manage safely. Under extreme conditions where black ice or impending snow is present, it is best to schedule a day at the gym or even in your living room. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get at least two hours and thirty minutes of moderate exercise a week. You can accomplish this outdoors, even if it’s cold, as long as you practice safely. If you experience any pain, seek out local healthcare providers for expert assistance.