For those that typically enjoy an outdoor workout, the winter weather can certainly put a damper on your fitness routine. As tempting as it is to hibernate and skip it altogether, there are plenty of benefits that come from enduring the cold temps and snowy environment. You burn more calories, strengthen your heart, and get a healthy dose of vitamin D to keep you happy and energized. Doesn’t sound too bad, huh? We’ve got a few tips and tricks to help you survive your outdoor winter workout and hit the ground running—just watch out for ice!
Warm-Up + Hydrate
A warm-up is essential before any exercise but is especially vital for an outdoor winter workout. Your muscles and joints are more susceptible to sprains in freezing temperatures making it easier to get injured. Start with a 20-minute jog to get your body loosened up and ready to go. It’s also important to remember to drink fluids before, during, and after your workout. While you may not feel as thirsty as you would in warm weather, you’ll be working up a sweat and breathing in dry air making it easy to lose fluids. Carry a water bottle or sports drink with you to stay hydrated.
Dress in Layers
In order to keep your body warm and dry, it’s important to dress in layers—and in the correct order. Start with a base layer that wicks away moisture. Then, layer on wool or fleece to keep you insulated and warm. To top it all off (literally), throw on a water-resistant layer to be prepared for the elements. Once your body starts to warm up during your workout, you can strip away layers as needed. It’s also important to make sure your ears, hands, and feet are protected. When it’s cold, most of your blood flow will be directed to your core, leaving these parts of your body vulnerable. Wear a hat or headband, wool gloves, and thermal socks to prevent frostbite.
It’s important to take care of your skin—yes, skin—during your outdoor workout. The dry air can easily dry out your skin (even with all of the water you’ll be drinking) so consider applying a heavy-duty winter moisturizer before you head out. Something else you might not have thought about? Sunburn. Yup, it can still happen even in the winter. Apply sunscreen and a UV-blocking lip balm prior to your workout. With the winter days being so short, it’s very possible you’ll be working out after dark. Stock up on reflective gear to make sure you’re safe even after the sun goes down. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you have proper footwear with enough traction. Nobody wants to be slipping and sliding!