During winter season it can be a challenge to exercise and keep fit. With the evenings becoming colder, the mornings have a certain bite in them, and a chill wind blowing constantly. Outdoor activities are one of the best ways to keep fit since they are fun and they break the monotony of going to a gym every day. In addition, outdoor activities are a very cheap way of keeping fit while socializing. With the advent of cold weather, it can be too tempting to stay at home instead and just spend time eating, drinking, all the while forgetting about exercise. If you’re stuck in this kind of pickle, here’s a couple of tips to help you stay fit during the winter weather.
Outdoor Winter Exercise
Even during cold weather, it is still possible for you to go outside, make no mistake about that. The only thing that you need to remember is that dry conditions are favorable for exercise, but wet weather can be treacherous. For one thing, during wet weather there is sleet, ice and snow on the pavement. Running or even walking can be a challenge and difficult to do.
If you’re going to exercise outdoors, it is also important that you invest in good quality winter clothing. Make sure that you get thermal clothing and wicking clothes. Wicking means that these type of clothing transfer moisture like sweat from your body onto the outer layers of your clothing. While you’re running out there, your sweat will not stick to your skin and cool you down even more. After all, raising your core body temperature is one of the important highlights in exercising. We’ll discuss more about clothing for the winter season.
Running during winter
Running outside requires special conditions as you’ve already noticed. It is recommended that you wear three layers of clothing so that the heat will be trapped between the layers, and this will also facilitate the flowing of moisture away from the body. The first layer should be a lightweight wicking material with a snug fit. The second layer is a similar material but with a long sleeved shirt. Finally, the top layer should be a breathable, wind proof, and waterproof material. If conditions are dry and you think you’ll just be out for a short run, then waterproofing is not that important.
For the legs, it’s important to wear a pair of thermal pants under a pair of light waterproof tracksuit bottoms. If the temperature drops even lower, then hats and gloves are required. Fleece hats and gloves are highly recommended since fleece is breathable, usually water resistant, and holds heat really well. Finally, wearing reflective strips and bands over your clothing is crucial if you’ll be running around in the dark which happens quite a lot during winter.
If running proves to be quite a challenge for you, then you can go instead for brisk walks. You can do this with a friend and you can still enjoy the benefits of exercising, with the added weight of your clothes serving as makeshift weights. You can even buy a pedometer to count your steps and thus motivate you to walk further each day.
If weather conditions are extremely unfavorable, like when it becomes very cold and wet, then it is best to stay indoors. Should there be a ski resort near your house then you should hit the slopes every weekend or so for some healthy outdoor exercise. If that’s not the case, then you can join a fitness club or join an exercise class near your home instead.
One thing that people overlook is the benefits of martial arts classes. Martial arts classes have a very healthy mix of cardio fitness. It can involve classic circuit training exercises, strength work, and core conditioning. However we do understand that martial arts do not always appeal to everybody. What you can go for instead is aerobic class, yoga workouts, or even public swimming baths. All of these methods are ideal for indoor exercises during the cold winter months.
Another thing that you can do is to invest in some home gym equipment. We know what you’re thinking; it might be very expensive and involve a huge area. However, a simple weight training bench with free weights will allow you to work your whole body. This is also an excellent idea for fat loss and muscle toning.
A lot of people have started purchasing exercise bikes, rowing machines, treadmills, and the more popular cross trainers. Keep in mind though that these pieces of equipment take up a lot of space, and you often lose interest in using them after a few months. You should only buy these if you are determined to develop a winter training routine or if you plan to use them all year round.
Switch Your Routine
If you’re a person who loves to exercise outdoors, then you can use the change in weather as a chance to try something new and modify your workout plan. For example, instead of working out at night time after your work, you can work out in the morning instead when it’s still bright outside and when you’re still getting that first rush of energy. Moreover, when you’re tired from work and stuck in bad traffic because of bad weather, it will discourage you from exercising. On the other hand, exercising in the morning will get it out of your way early during the day so you can spend your evenings relaxed at the couch.
Importance of Nutrition
Remember that if you’re running outside in the cold weather or simply working out in the winter season, then you need more fuel than usual. You might find yourself quickly drained of energy more than usual when you go for a quick run outside. Filling up on carbohydrates can help remedy this problem and enable you to work out same as before. Lastly, it is also imperative that you drink plenty of fluids. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean that dehydration will not happen to you. Remember that you are still losing fluids when you are going out for a run, it’s just that in the cold weather you won’t be able to feel it as you would in the warm season.
We’re talking about specifically what is after exercise. When you have finished your exercise routine, resist the temptation to quickly remove your clothing. If your body loses head rapidly, post exercise hypothermia will happen. If you have been sweating heavily, then this is the reason not to remove your clothing after exercise.
It is still possible to keep fit in the cold weather. All it takes is a simple modification of your exercise routine. If you’re into keeping your exercise regimen even when you can’t go outside, then you can buy exercise equipment. What is important is that you keep yourself motivated all throughout the cold weather since working out at home can prove to be too tempting to many people out there.