So, you want to exercise outdoors (even though it’s winter)?
Good on you for your dedication to maintaining your training!
The great news is the shift in air quality and temperature can make your immune system stronger. Additionally, your heart rate speeding up to counter the cold makes your workout even more efficient.
However, it’s important to be safe when taking on harsh environments and weather conditions.
Here are a few tips to help make the most of your winter workout:
1. Don’t Forget To Warm Up!
Your body is like a car, it needs some time to warm up when it’s cold out before you can begin to use it. It’s worth taking your time to do a proper full-body warm-up!
If you don’t, you could overexert yourself and get hurt, shocking your joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
2. Stay In Motion
Your muscles cool down fast when it’s cold out and you can end up really sore if you stop long enough to let that happen. Keep your momentum going throughout, and cool down gradually at the end of your training so you don’t end up with stiff muscles.
3. Be Sure To Bundle Up
Dress for the weather in layers and make sure you cover where you lose heat the fastest: your extremities.
Keep your head, feet and hands warm, wear the right shoes for training under these weather conditions, and a headlamp if you’re going to be training after dark. And remember, with the windchill it might be colder outside than it looks. Plan ahead so you can enjoy a safe, effective workout.
4. Breathe Through It
In through the nose, out through the mouth is the best way to protect your lungs when you are working out in cold environments.
Breathing like this gives air a longer route to reach the lungs, with more time to be moistened and heated on it’s way. It also helps to wear a mask or similar face coverings when exercising in the cold, as it also helps to keep the air warm and moist.
5. Know Your Limits
Avoid exercise outside if it’s less than -15 degrees celsius or if you have asthma and your doctor recommends against cold outdoor activity. If at any point you find that it hurts to breathe, you’re coughing, or feeling unwell, stop training and consult a medical professional as needed.
Also, the first half-hour after concluding your exercise is when you are most vulnerable to the elements. So warm up and get out of your sweaty clothes as soon as possible.
6. Get Your Vitamins In
You can enjoy vitamin D if you workout in the morning or afternoon (also it’s warmer!) Make sure your diet is well rounded, and contains local, seasonal foods to help your body adapt to the winter weather.
If your diet is lacking in the necessary vitamins and nutrients, supplementing them is another solution that can help fulfill your needs.
Most Importantly: Have Fun!
Winter doesn’t last forever, so soak up the snowflakes and admire the beauty of the season.
Enjoy your workout and the wonders of winter,
Mental Toughness Trainer