8 Tips to Maintaining Fitness in the Cold Season
The colder season is upon us. For some, that means their workout sessions will slow down, while for others it will come to a complete stop until next season. Don’t allow the cold to frighten you from your daily routines. Exercising in the cold can have its benefits. Sometimes the chill allows you to do a more thorough workout than you would get in the warmer weather. If you’re exercising in particularly frigid temperatures, your body will expend more energy to regulate core temperature, increasing your heart rate and boosting the number of calories you burn during a workout. While it may be a challenge, here are a few tips for getting through a winter workout:
Warm Up Wisely
Before any workout, walk around or jog in place indoors for five minutes, recommends Olympian Jeff Galloway, coauthor of A Woman’s Guide to Running. When you head out, give your body time to adjust to the conditions by taking 30-second breaks every few minutes for the first 10 minutes.
Even if it’s not as obvious as in the summer, you’re still sweating during cold-weather workouts and pushing yourself, so stay hydrated. Mayo Clinic suggests drinking water before, after and during your runs, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Dress in removable layers, sometimes two or three. Wearing a sweater adds inches to the bar, making it harder on exercises like Front Squats to put the bar correctly. I remove my sweater during work sets, and put it back on between sets. Try also a wool hat to avoid sinus & ear infections from the cold weather.
Don’t forget your hat and gloves
Keeping hands and feet warm is key in the cold temperatures since your body will shunt blood away from extremities to keep your internal organs warm. Gloves will help prevent skin damage and frostbite in sub-zero temperatures. To keep your feet warm, make sure your torso is properly insulated. That will drive blood back down to your lower extremities. About 50 percent of body heat is lost from an uncovered head when the temperatures hit the freezing mark. Wearing a hat will help your body retain heat.
Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia
Symptoms of hypothermia include an inability to think clearly or move easily, shivering, exhaustion, memory loss, drowsiness, fumbling hands, slurred speech, pain in the extremities, a slow and weak pulse, as well as collapse or unconsciousness.
Wearing too many clothes during a workout can cause you to sweat more. In the winter, sweat being soaked into your clothing may leave you feeling a bit more chilled. If you notice that you are feeling colder, immediately remove an additional layer of clothes. Try to stay away from heavy cottons, as they’d promote and soak up more sweat.
Check the weather
knowing the forecast allows you to properly prep for the next workout, adjusting your wardrobe accordingly
Plan your route
Having a set destination is important for any exercise, regardless of weather conditions. During the colder season, try on planning a route with heavily lined trees or buildings. This allows some protection against the wind. Another great practice is to be sure there is a store or cafe along the way, in case you need to step in and warm up a little.
There are some safety risks to consider when exercising in the cold. The most dangerous conditions to work out in are those that involve extremes in temperature. Cold weather exercise can lead to hypothermic symptoms. When exercising in the cold, you need to think more about your clothing and your exposure to the elements.