5 tips for exercising in the cold
Exercising in cold weather can be highly refreshing, or freezing and frustrating.
If you dress too warmly, you could end up trying to run while carrying extra sweaty layers. If you don’t wear enough warm clothing, you could become so uncomfortable that you’re tempted to dash into someplace with a heater!
Also, how can you stay safe if it’s dark outside, and how much water should you drink?
Check out these tips offers for conquering the cold:
1) Dress for the temps.
You really can take on the frost without freezing, or burning up!
If you plan to run in 40-degree weather, wear long pants and a jacket. Cycling adds wind chill, so if you’ll be pedaling, add a pair of gloves, and be sure your jacket keeps out the wind. For running in below-freezing temperatures, wear a thick pair of pants or layer leggings beneath pants, plus a warm jacket and hat, as well as gloves and a scarf to cover as much skin as possible. For cycling when the air is below freezing, consider investing in hand warmers, foot warmers and a ski mask. No matter the temperature, be sure your top is moisture-wicking. Otherwise, your sweat will make your clothing wet, which will lead to discomfort and could even put you at risk for hypothermia.
2) Glow in the dark.
During the winter, the days are shorter, so whether you plan to exercise before heading to work or after clocking out, it may be dark when you hit the streets for your winter workout. To stay safe, wear reflective clothing. Runners should wear neon vests and reflective strips on their pants, and cyclists should add lights to their bikes so they can see and drivers can see them. Also, stay off the ice, and in case you run into any trouble, keep your phone with you in a waterproof, zipped-up pocket.
3) Warm up.
No, we’re not talking about drinking hot cocoa before exiting your front door. Warm up your muscles! Even brisk walking outside, if it’s a long walk and the weather is chilly, can make muscles sore. Before heading into the cold, stand against a wall with your front leg bent and your back leg straight to stretch the back calf for 10 seconds. Then, repeat with the other leg. Also, stand up straight and take turns lifting each foot to its corresponding buttock for a count of 10 to stretch your quadriceps. Then, reach down to your toes. If you can’t reach, don’t bounce; just reach as far as you can while keeping your knees straight, and hold for a count of 10. Also, a bit of jogging or jumping in place will help your body get warm, according to Richard Cotton, an exercise physiologist and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise.
4) Get hydrated.
It can be easy to think you don’t need as much water as in the summer because you don’t feel as hot, but you are still at risk for dehydration! You will perform your best and stay the healthiest if you drink 20 ounces of water two hours before you head outside for your winter workout, according to a study by Columbia University. Researchers advise drinking another 8 ounces during warm-up and then every 10-20 minutes while exercising, depending on how much you’re sweating. If you will be cycling, fill a water bottle with warm water and attach it to your bike to keep drinking on the way.
5) Just do it!
It can be difficult to rise from a comfy couch in a heated home to get active in the chilly outdoors. However, remember your “why.” Hopefully, it’s not just to fit into your smaller-sized jeans, but also to feel your best, be your healthiest, and enjoy the rewards of staying motivated. So, no matter what the thermometer says, get out and get moving.