Don’t wait until Spring to get back outside, outdoor exercise is good for your body and mind, no matter the time of year. It can be tough to head outside on cold or rainy days, to help you we’ve compiled a list of the top eight tips to ensure you stay warm and injury-free when working out in cold weather.
1. Layer Up
You need layers to trap warm air next to your body and keep out the elements like rain, snow and wind. First, put on a thin base layer made of synthetic fabrics to help pull sweat away from your skin. If it’s really cold outside, wear a middle layer, such as polar fleece, for extra warmth. Then, add an outer waterproof layer to protect you from rain.
2. Wear Bright Colours
Not only is it colder in winter but it’s darker too. Dark skies and poor weather conditions can significantly decrease the visibility of road users. It is important to wear bright colours and reflective gear to ensure and so it is important to also wear reflective gear to ensure you are visible to other road users.
3. Protect Your Extremities
To keep your extremities from freezing, wear a hat/headband, gloves and thick socks. These add-ons should be wool or synthetic rather than cotton to help keep sweat off your skin.
4. Drink Up
People often don’t feel as thirsty during cold-weather workouts as they do during warmer-weather workouts. However, you’re still losing fluids through sweat and breathing in lower temperatures. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your workout to replace those lost fluids.
5. Do a Warm-Up First
A good warm up is an essential part of any workout routine, but it's even more important to prepare for cold-weather workouts. According to experts, you’re at increased risk for sprains and strains when exercising in colder temperatures. Dynamic warm-ups increase blood flow and temperature in the muscles to help decrease the risk of injuries.
6. Breathe Right
In cold weather the airway passages tend to narrow, which makes inhalation more difficult. It can actually hurt to inhale because of how your body reacts to cold, dry air. Breathing in through your nose can help warm and humidify air or wrapping a bandanna/scarf around your mouth can also ease discomfort.
7. Remove Layers as You Heat Up
The biggest mistake people make when dressing for cold weather exercise is putting on too many layers and not peeling them off in time. After all, exercising will considerably warm you up and you don’t want to get ridiculously sweaty when you’re in cold temperatures. As soon as you start to feel your body overheat remove a layer, tie it around your waist and put it back on if you start to feel cold again.
8. Warm Down and Change Out of Damp Gear
Once you stop moving after a cold-weather workout you’ll get chilled fast. Whatever the weather, a warm-down is essential after sustained exercise. This can be achieved by reducing your exercise intensity during the final 5 to 10 minutes of your workout. Then, once breathing and heart rate normalize, repeat your warm-up and do some stretching.
It is also important to get out of your damp workout clothes, which can suck away warmth. A warm shower and dry, clean clothes help keep that chill away.
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