As it gets colder outside and the daylight hours become shorter, it gets harder to fight the urge to just stay inside, snuggled up by a fire, watching TV or reading a book. You will feel better and have more energy, however, if you stick to your fitness goals this winter. The colder months are a perfect time to wrap up in warm clothes and find an adventure in the crisp invigorating air. Another benefit of winter workouts is greater calorie burn because your body has to work harder to stay warm.
If you enjoy walking or jogging outside, don’t allow the cold weather to stop you. Just make a few adjustments as the temperature drops.
- Dress warmly in layers, making sure to cover your head, hands and feet. Bundle up. Wear hats, gloves and wicking materials to stay dry and prevent hypothermia and frostbite.
- Consider wearing a base layer that keeps moisture away from your skin and an outer layer that blocks the wind, rain or snow.
- Your winter running or walking wardrobe should include reflective strips or a light due to limited daylight in the winter months.
- To avoid injury, do extra warm up exercises; it takes the body a little longer to warm up in the winter.
- Keep in mind that streets and sidewalks will be slippery. Wear shoes that provide a good grip. Be careful. Watch out for sleet, black ice and broken concrete.
- Shorten your stride to provide better balance and traction on slippery pavement.
- Drink extra fluids; it’s easier to dehydrate in colder weather. Water is best.
- Moisturize your skin by using lotions and creams. Apply sunscreen, especially if you’re at high altitudes, like on the ski slopes.
- Start into the wind and return with the wind at your back to limit your exposure.
Sometimes the hardest part of running in winter is just staying motivated, especially when you find yourself running in the dark and the cold.
Try these tips to stay on track:
Set a Goal: Plan to run a 5K or half marathon once the weather warms up, or just try to reach a specific number of miles run each month.
Find a Virtual Partner or Group: Knowing that by not showing up you are letting down others can give you that little extra push you need to get out the door on those cold mornings. Keep track of each other’s efforts.
Try Fun Runs: There are plenty of virtual 3K and 5K fun runs during the winter months. Knowing that you’re part of a bigger group can take some of the sting out of any chilly wind.
If you just cannot seem to get motivated to run outside during the winter, you can still get your exercise in by going out to play. Enjoy the winter wonderland by starting a snowball fight, building a snowman, going sledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding or ice skating. The best part about these activities is that they don’t feel like exercise. Embrace the snow. It will only be around for a few months, so jump right in.
Remember there is no bad weather, only bad/inappropriate clothing. Dress properly and get outside as much as you can. You will feel invigorated and energized!