10 Winter Exercise Tips

Exercising in cold weather can be difficult causing you to give up.  We are two weeks into 2014 and we want to keep our momentum going.  That is why I am going to share some “Cold Weather Exercising Tips” with you.  Continue reading to find out how you can keep your momentum, lose weight, and remain safe while exercising during the winter months.

You must layer

Layering allows you to remove clothes as your body heat begins to rise.  Having too many clothes on at the beginning of your workout can cause you to sweat at a greater rate early in your workout.  This can cause you to get chills, which in turn can lead to you being sick.  Make sure your layers are easily removable without making you pause your workout for too long of a time period.  Three layers works well for this.

1. On the bottom you want sweat wicking clothing.  This a thin layer that absorbs sweat off your body as you exercise.  The label will let you know if the piece you are wearing does this.

2. The next layer needs to be your insulation.  You can wear fleece or another type of fabric that traps the body heat to keep you warm. This does not have to be bulky as there are a lot of clothes that are now made with *thinsulate, which is a very thin fabric inside the clothing that is great at keeping you warm during cold to extremely cold weather.

3. The last layer your need to wear is something that protects you from the weather.  You need something that will block the wind and repel the snow or rain.

Wear Mittens

Wear mittens instead of gloves.  The mittens keep your fingers in one space allowing your body heat to be shared, where gloves keep all your fingers separated causing them to get cold faster.  Another thing that you can do is slip warmer packets into your mittens to help keep your hands warm. (You can find these in the sporting goods section.)  Hunters have been doing this for years to keep their hands warm.

Cover your face, neck, and head

Most of your body head escapes through your head, keeping your head covered will help keep the rest of your body warm.  You can do this by wearing a hooded mask that will cover your head and neck, or you can wear a neck gaiter that covers your neck, mouth and ears paired with a hat.  A simple hat and scarf or turtleneck will work well too.

Wearing the right type of clothing is only part of your safety.  You need to protect your body in other ways as well; here are three more ways to protect your body during winter exercises:

1.  Hydrate

Yes, even in winter you need to keep your body hydrated.  In fact, it is even more important that you keep yourself hydrated.  During the winter it is more difficult to tell if you are becoming dehydrated.  Your body will lose fluids through sweating, breathing, and peeing so be sure to keep yourself well hydrated.  Hydrate your body before, during, and after your workouts.

2.  Protect your skin

You still need to wear sunscreen and sunglasses during the winter months, especially on sunny days.  Sunlight reflects off snow and road surfaces creating a glare and even causing sunburn.  You also need to apply some sort of lip balm to your lips to protect them from the weather.  (Chapped lips are the worse, especially when they start to crack.)

3.  Reflective gear

Wear something that will reflect in sunlight as well as headlights.  You want drivers to be able to see you.

Here are some extra tips to keep you safe and injury free:

  • Put your clothes in the dryer before you go outside. Your body will be warm from the start and by the time your body starts generating its own heat, the heat from the dryer will be gone.
  • Warm up your muscles.  Take a few minutes to do a short 3-5 minute warm up before you go outside.  It is important to warm up all year, but winter makes them even more important.  With the cold temperatures it is much easier to pull or strain a muscle.
  • Begin your run into the wind.  This way you are running into the wind when your body is strongest and the wind will be at your back when you end.
  • Make a loop.  Creating a loop that you can run allows you to lengthen and shorted your run as your body needs.  Winter weather or weather in general, can change at any moment causing you the need to change your plans.

Our bodies perform differently in winter weather than they do in summer weather so make sure you give your body the best opportunity to work at its best.  You can do just that by following the guidelines above.

Did anything strike your fancy?  Are you going to try something new? Do you have something to add?  Let me know in the comment section below.

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