Despite making a resolution to work out more in the new year, we still have no trouble finding excuse after excuse to skip that regular bit of exercise. Our schedule is too busy, the gym is too crowded, or likely the most common winter complaint—it’s too cold outside.
Nice try, but we’re here to debunk that whole “cold weather” excuse once and for all.
For starters, there are some serious benefits to working out in colder weather (provided you take the right precautions and stay away from any extreme weather conditions that would make even a polar bear second guess his decision to be outside).
The Benefits of Cold-Weather Exercise
It’s true, working out during the winter months can have a positive impact on your overall health and well-being. Like what, you ask? Take a look.
- Endorphins, and lots of ’em. You can get those exercise endorphins flowing no matter what the weather is outside, but admit it, we could use those feel-good vibes the most during the dreary winter months. So break out of those winter “blahs,” get your body moving and give that mood a boost.
- Vitamin D. Enjoy some time in the sun and give your body a much-needed boost of nutrients (being sure to keep your skin protected with a broad spectrum sunscreen, of course).
- Torch those calories. Your body has to work harder to regulate its core temperature as it battles with the cooler conditions, meaning that your calorie burn will likely experience a slight increase in comparison to an indoor or warmer weather workout.
Tips for Crushing Any Winter Workout
Whether you’re walking around the block or opting for something slightly more intense, make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout with the tips below.
- Layer it up. Sure, those dropping temperatures and blustering winds may seem like a good reason to throw on the heaviest pieces of clothing you own and call it a day, but hold tight on that idea for just a second. You see, working out leads to sweat, sweat leads to wet clothing, and wet clothing in cold weather leads to chills. Instead, opt for a light base layer that wicks sweat away from your body, and an outermost layer that blocks both wind and wetness.
- Protect and hydrate skin. Just like your workout clothing needs special consideration before stepping out into the cold, so does your skin; apply a moisturizer like Photo Plasma, which not only leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated but also creates an invisible shield against environmental aggressors and protects skin against UVA and UVB damage with a Broad Spectrum SPF 30.
- Warm up. Getting your body ready for any form of exercise is always a crucial step, but this is especially important when the temperatures outside aren’t exactly balmy. Before journeying out into that winter wonderland, run in place for a few minutes to get your blood flowing and muscles ready for the chilly task ahead.
- Keep an eye on what’s ahead. Wet conditions and freezing temperatures often mean one thing—ice, and lots of it. Have a route in mind before you leave the house; one that’s well-lit and comprised of plowed sidewalks or quiet, safe streets.
- Stick close to home. You never know when the weather might turn a little uglier than expected, or if that lurking sheet of black ice will finally take its toll on your backside. Choosing a route that keeps you within a short distance from home will ensure that you can get back inside quickly if and when the need to arises.
- Drink more of that H2O. When stifling summer heat isn’t there to remind you just how thirsty you are, it’s easy to overlook the need to keep your body hydrated. But here’s the deal—staying hydrated in the winter is just as important as in the summer, especially when doing any form of physical activity.
- Supplement your recovery. Give your body an extra dose of nutrients to encourage recovery and optimal healthy living by choosing the best targeted supplement solution for your individual needs.
The key with winter exercise is to start slow, working your way up to more intense workouts and keeping in mind that what feels easy in the warmer months will likely be more difficult in chillier conditions. Of course, at the end of the day, it really all comes down to one thing—listen to your body and use common sense.