Many parts of the United States have been blasted with cold weather as of late, but that’s no reason to let your New Years exercise resolution fall by the wayside. After all, exercising in the cold offers unique benefits. You’ll burn more calories as your body works to maintain its core temperature, and because the heart works a bit harder in the cold to distribute blood, you’ll boost your cardio benefits. Just follow these tips to stay comfortable and safe as you brave the elements:
Layer smart. A thin, synthetic, base layer that fits close to the skin is a great foundation for your winter workout wear – it will wick moisture away from the skin, keeping you warm. A fleece or wool layer should top this. Next, consider a breathable windbreaker or waterproof layer, depending upon conditions. Don’t forget to keep head, ears, hands, and feet protected. It may take some experimentation to find the perfect clothing combination.
Drink up. Although you may not feel thirst in the same way as in warm weather, dry air and winter winds can speed dehydration. Drink water or a sports beverage before, during and after your workout, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Be visible. While this isn’t exactly a cold weather tip, it definitely applies to the winter months, when the days are shorter and daylight savings is on hiatus. If you’re accustomed to going out for a walk or run after work or dinner, odds are it’s dark by the time you hit the pavement. Choose clothing with reflective properties – some people even wear clip-on flashing LED lights to raise visibility.
Check the forecast. While it’s generally fine for a healthy person to work up a sweat in winter temperatures, do use common sense. The risk of frostbite is less than 5% in temperatures above 5 F. But if the temperature (including wind chill effect) hits minus 18 F or lower, consider taking the day off – frostbite in these conditions can set in in as little as 30 minutes.
With a little planning, you can enjoy productive, comfortable, and safe outdoor exercise throughout the winter season.
Resources:exercise tips, Fitness, winter workout