Physical activity is essential for good health, and this is especially true during winter when we’re more prone to being passive. With colder weather, we tend to stay indoors more often, cosy up in a blanket and just rest after a long day. However, all that kicking back can lead to common snacking and gaining weight, which is why it’s important to keep working out, even when the temperature is close to zero. If you’re more of an outdoorsy type and you’d like to continue running when the first snow hits the ground, you should keep the following tips in mind.
Protect your extremities
When winter is here and cold weather knocks on the door, blood shifts to the core of the body, leaving less blood available to hands and feet. This will make your fingers, ears and nose cold because all the warmth will be focused on the core. During this time, your extremities will need extra protection from freezing, so put on a hat or headband and gloves or mittens. If you feel too warm at some point, you can always take them off and tuck them in a pocket. Thick socks will be a good choice too. Choose wool or synthetic, rather than cotton, to wick sweat off your skin. If your toes are particularly cold, swap your running shoes for those that are specially designed to withstand the winter elements.
Layer up your clothes
When the cold weather hits hard, you’ll want to trap warm air next to your body and keep out the wind, rain and snow. First, you’ll need a basic layer of comfortable men bottoms tights and a shirt made of synthetics to pull sweat away from your skin. A polar fleece will add extra warmth as the second layer. Protect your body from the wind with an extra outer layer. Be it a vest, heavyweight waterproof jacket or a lightweight nylon windbreaker, it’ll keep you warm.
Always warm up
Warm-up is an essential part of workouts because it prevents injuries and gets your heart rate up to prepare you for the strenuous exercises. Warming up is equally important during winter as it is during warmer weather, so don’t try to get around it. Not only will it prevent injuries, but it will also feel good to stay warm all the time when the weather outside is close to freezing. You’ll be more susceptible to sprains and strains during winter because the body will take longer to warm up and it can easily cool down. Do low-intensity movements that are similar to the exercise you’ll be doing. If you’re a runner, include bodyweight lunges and squats, arm swings, and core activation work into your warmups.
Even if you don’t feel as thirsty as you do when you’re running in the heat, your body will still need water to avoid dehydration. As you sweat and breathe in lower temperatures, you’ll need water to compensate for lost liquids. Water is always a number one option, but if your workouts last longer than 90 minutes, you can switch to sports drinks. Be careful not to bring ice-cold water but opt for lukewarm, to avoid getting a sore throat. When you warm up, cold water can wreak havoc on your throat and tonsils, so drink slowly and don’t cool the water too much.
Working out in cold weather will require special clothes and a slightly improved way of working out. Don’t forget to warm up, layer up and always stay hydrated. Moreover, protect your nose, ears, hands and mouth with warm accessories and you can enjoy your winter training sessions to the max.