Start Right, Gear Up For The Cold
One of the most important things that you can do before any work out is to warm up. As we slowly warm up we drive more blood to our muscles allowing them to adapt to the demands we’re putting on them. This also gives both muscles and tendons time to loosen up which helps prevent avoidable injuries. During the winter months, warming up becomes even more important as our muscles are even tighter thanks to the cold. It’s for this reason that many of us are more prone to injury during the winter than they are during spring or summer.
Start off by doing light activities like jumping jacks, running in place, using a jump rope or, if you have one, an exercise bike. Even a brisk walk can be good just so long as you’re moving blood to your muscles and especially to your extremities where you feel the cold the most.
Dress for The Weather
Dressing right is one of the most important things you can do for a winter workout:
- Protect your skin. While you may not feel the heat as much as in the summer you can still get sunburn in the winter. Just like how water on any body of water can reflect the sun’s light increasing your exposure, the snow can do the same thing. Wear sunscreen on sunny days (yes even in the dead of winter). Also make sure that you keep your hands (and face) covered with proper winter gear that will protect you from the chill and wind without making you sweat unnecessarily.
- Wear breathable fabrics. The key is not to just be warm but also stay dry. Not doing this will cause you to sweat unnecessarily which will then cool against your skin, chilling you as you work out.
- Make good use of layers. Combat the cold by layering up. You should have at least one layer that will wick moisture away from your skin and one that will protect you from the wind. Use additional layers if the weather makes it necessary to stay warm.
When Running: Start Into The Wind
By starting off going into the wind you’ll be able to have it at your back on the second half of your workout or run. This is important because it will reduce the wind chill you’ll face as you head back, which will in turn reduce how cold you feel after you start sweating.
The winter not only impacts the outside conditions around you, but also the people around you. Even during the day be sure to wear bright clothes and reflective gear so you stand out. It’s important to be especially alert around roads. Since the ice and snow tends to make everything much more reflective it’s harder to distinguish anything that doesn’t stand out against the glare.
Dry Off After You’re Done
Slip out of wet clothes as soon as you’re done. If showering immediately afterwards isn’t an option then slip into a new set of clothes to stay warm.
Know When To Stay Inside
While we’ve mentioned this before in our other posts, this bears repeating. Stay indoors when you know you should. Sometimes it might be too cold, too windy, too dark or just too dangerous. When that happens move your workout indoors and do what you can. The best thing you can do is stick to your routine even if it’s a bit lighter on some days.
What do you think of this list? Which “healthy hack” is your favorite? What would you add to this list?
Tags: healthy hacks