Brain Health Fitness Health Lifestyle

Chilly Outside? 5 Tips for Exercising in the Winter

It’s cold, which makes exercising hard.

Winter is coming and that can post some difficulties with exercising. Whether it is due to decreased sunlight, inclement weather, or severe drops in temperature, it can be hard to gather up the motivation to get out there and get moving.

Whatever you decide to do for exercise, just make sure that you do find a way to move during the winter. Statistically, we are our least active during the winter and it all stems from a combination of weather, lack of comfort, and getting swept up in the holiday busy schedules that derail our habitual exercise. However, with these 5 tips below, we may be able to help make it easier for you to prepare for exercising in the winter.

Here are 5 things you can do:

  1. Wear proper attire for the weather. Once the temperature drops, it can get hard to feel comfortable while exercising outside. Your muscles stiffen and everything aches from the cold. Having the right attire on while you exercise will make the experience of exercising feel better. Invest in the right equipment and clothing you’ll need for your outdoor exercise activity. Avoid cotton. Also consider a waterproof layer of clothing if you are exercising outside and other layers made out of wool or fleece to keep your limbs warm. This will help prevent muscle related injuries due to the cold. Make sure your clothes are tight because that will increase circulation of blood to the limbs while you exercise in the cold.
  2. Stay at home. Staying at home may be the best bet if you are concerned about weather and temperature. If you have a stationary bike, just do 30 minutes of exercise a day on it and that will keep you fit enough to keep those holiday meals off. If you don’t have exercise equipment, that’s not a problem. With all of the fitness videos available to us on the internet, you can put one on your computer screen and exercise away. You could even exercise while watching your favorite TV show. We recommend doing this in the morning before you go to work or have to go to school because, at the end of a long day, it becomes harder to gather up the motivation to exercise.
  3. Go to the gym. Yeah. Yeah. Not the most original tip in the world. However, gyms allow you to beat the nastiness that winter weather can bring. Gyms also allow you to be around other people, which builds a sense of community and can provide a boost of motivation to get through that workout. The gym is also a good place to reassure you of your safety when exercising in the winter. You don’t have to worry about things like ice or the hazards that come with exercising in the dark.
  4. Remember to protect your skin. Cold temperatures usually mean dry air, which means a greater increase in losing moisture in the body and your skin. Drink plenty of water, use hydrating lotions and creams, and don’t forget to sunscreen. Yes, sunscreen is important in the winter months. This is especially the case if you are engaging in mountain recreational activities like skiing or snowboarding. According to the Skin Care Foundation, for every 1000 feet of elevation, exposure to UV light increases 8-10%. Add in the reflective snow and you can expect to be hit twice by the same rays of UV light.
  5. Dress brightly so you can light up the night. Although black can serve to trap heat, dressing brightly is better to do in the winter. Poor visibility from inclement weather or overcast, dark skies can make it difficult for people to see you while you’re exercising outside. Clothing that’s reflective in the dark is much preferred. It’ll help car drivers see you at nighttime. You can also wear a headlamp to help you find your way, but also let others see you. If you are riding a bike in the winter, we recommend putting a bright headlight and taillight to increase visibility.

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