Exercising in the cold

Many people flock outside in warm weather to jog, play basketball or do yard work. But when the mercury rises, “easy” exercise becomes a huge physical undertaking, and intense exercise can be deadly. If your body’s temperature regulation system is overtaxed, you’re at risk of developing a heat-related illness. Here’s what you need to do to protect yourself in extreme summer heat.

Contents

Keep an Eye on the Weather

Exercise and warm weather increase your core body temperature. When you combine the two — for example, when you run on a hot, humid day — even seasoned athletes need to exercise caution. Your body cools itself by sweating, but cooling down is harder in humid weather because perspiration doesn’t evaporate as quickly from your skin. Your heart rate rises as your body works hard to keep its cool.

Before you lace up your running shoes or head to the tennis courts, take a look at the weather report. If the temperature or humidity is high, scale back your workout. A workout that feels easy on a temperate day can be dangerously intense on a hot, humid afternoon. Respect your body and your own limitations. People with larger bodies, the elderly, kids and those not accustomed to rigorous exercise should be extremely cautious in hot weather.

Dress Appropriately

When exercising in heat, what you wear matters. Light-colored, sweat-wicking clothing is best for hot weather; dark, heavy clothes can make you even hotter. Gear — such as protective padding or helmets — also traps heat and raises your body temperature. If you have to suit up, shorten your workout intensity and duration.

Wear UV-blocking sunglasses and don’t forget the sunscreen. Choose water-resistant sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels), and apply it 30 minutes before going out. Continue to reapply the sunscreen according to the package directions. Sunburn decreases your body’s ability to cool itself.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

When the weather heats up, make sure you drink enough fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated, and enjoy water-rich foods including crisp lettuce, watermelon, grapefruit, broccoli and tomatoes.

It’s surprisingly easy to lose a few pounds of water weight through sweating. Weigh yourself before and after working out, and replace each pound of weight loss with 2 to 3 cups of water. Water is a good choice because it moves quickly through your digestive track and into your tissues. If you’re sweating heavily or exercising for more than 60 minutes, sports drinks can help your body refuel and rehydrate more efficiently.

Know the Warning Signs: Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Dehydration is a serious medical condition. Exercising in hot, humid weather can rapidly raise your body’s core temperature, putting you at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures, and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.

Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Cool, moist skin

The pulse rate may be slow and weak. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke.

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. Body temperature may rise to 105°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes.

With heat stroke victims, look for the following symptoms:

  • Dry, hot skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Confusion
  • A body temperature of above 105°F
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

If you see someone with any warning signs of heat stroke, call 911 immediately, then cool the victim however you can (for example, move him/her to a shady spot or an air-conditioned location, or wet his/her skin with a sponge or hose).

Winter can be a challenging time to stick to an exercise routine, and not just because of the weather. Aside from the ice, slush, snow, and far fewer hours of daylight to get those workouts in, you have to juggle it with holiday and family commitments.

Get the Run Nonstop Plan now.

So it can be easy to let things slide. Below you’ll find all the strategies you need to stay fit until spring, when daylight hours and temperatures are more agreeable.

BUDDY UP. Exercising with a friend even once a week can help you get out the door, as it’s harder to blow off a workout if you know that someone is waiting for you. And you don’t necessarily have to run or walk. Making dates to lift weights at the gym or take a yoga or Pilates class can help you stay on track with these activities.

STAY VISIBLE. When the days are short, you’re more likely to be walking or running in the dark. Wear reflective, fluorescent gear and use a headlamp or carry a flashlight so you can see where you’re going. (As always, remember to walk or .)

FORGET ABOUT SPEED. Snow and ice can make things very dicey. When you do run or walk, don’t worry about how fast or slow you’re going. Just get into a rhythm that feels easy and comfortable.

FIND STABLE FOOTING. Look for snow that’s been packed down—it will provide better traction. Fresh powder can cover up ice patches. Run on the street if it’s been plowed, provided that it’s safe from traffic, and watch out for areas that could have black ice. Use the sidewalk if it’s clear of ice and slippery snow. Find a well-lit route, slow your pace, and make sure you’re familiar with areas of broken concrete.

BE FLEXIBLE. Winter is not the time to be rigid about when, where, and how far you go. If you’re a morning exerciser, you may need to switch to lunchtime workouts, when the air is the warmest and the sun is out; if you usually hit the trails, you may need to stick to well-lit roads or even the treadmill (see below).

TAKE IT INSIDE. If the roads are covered with ice, it’s better to work out inside than risk hurting yourself. (See treadmill workouts here.) If you can’t bear the treadmill, use the elliptical trainer or stair machine or “run” in deep water for the same amount of time that you’d spend running or walking. By the way, the treadmill doesn’t have to feel like torture. Play around with the speed and incline to fend off boredom. Most treadmills come with pre-programmed workouts that do the changing for you, so try those, too.

WARM UP INSIDE. Before you head out the door, move around indoors enough to get the blood flowing and gradually raise the heart rate, without breaking a sweat. This will help your workout feel easier sooner into the workout. Run in place, walk up and down your stairs, do some jumping jacks, use a jump rope… whatever it takes to get your heart beating faster.

HEAD INTO THE WIND. If you can, start your walk or run facing the wind and finish with it at your back. Otherwise, you’ll work up a sweat and then turn directly into a cold blast. Not fun! To avoid a long, biting slog, you can break this into segments, walking or running into the wind for 10 minutes, turning around to walk or run with the wind at your back for five minutes, and repeating.

DON’T FORGET TO DRINK. Even when it’s cold, you still lose water through sweating. So it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the winter. Drink half your weight in ounces throughout the day (e.g., if you weigh 150 pounds, aim for 75 ounces of fluids per day).

GET OUT OF THOSE WET CLOTHES! Damp clothing increase heat loss. Immediately after your workout, remove your sweaty clothes and get into a hot shower—or, if you aren’t ready for a shower yet, into something dry and cozy.

HOW TO DRESS FOR VERY COLD WEATHER

COVER YOUR EXTREMITIES. Your nose, fingers, and ears are the first to freeze, so be sure to keep them well protected from wind, wet, and freezing temperatures. Balaclavas—knit masks that cover the whole head, with holes for nose and eyes—are the way to go. Or try a heavy synthetic knit cap pulled down low, with a scarf or neck muffler pulled up high.

WEAR WOOL. Wool retains much of its insulating properties even when it’s wet, thanks to air pockets in the fiber that trap warm air. Socks made from merino wool won’t make your feet feel itchy.

PROTECT YOUR PRIVATES… Wind robs your body of heat. That’s why briefs or boxers with a nylon wind barrier are so important for guys on cold days. The nylon panel on the front of these boxers keeps the heat in and the wind out.

…AND YOUR HANDS. Mittens keep your hands warmer than gloves by creating a big warm air pocket around your entire hand. Pick a pair with a nylon shell, or wear glove liners underneath. If your hands start to feel numb and look pale, warm them as soon as possible, as these are early signs of frostbite.

WEAR A SHELL. On wet days, look for a shell that will not only keep you dry and protected from the snow or sleet, but will also vent the moisture you create as you sweat. Many jackets are made from waterproof, breathable fabrics and have large midback and underarm vents.

WHAT TO WEAR?

  • 35° TO 45°F AND CLEAR- Wear tights or thin running pants, a long-sleeve shirt, and a vest. You may also need gloves when the temp gets near 35°F.
  • 35° TO 45°F AND RAINY- Slim-fitting tights fare better in rain since they won’t get as droopy. A wool base layer will keep you warmer than a synthetic top since it retains warmth when wet. Wear a waterproof outer layer.
  • 10° TO 35°F AND CLEAR- Wear technical underwear under your tights or pants and a long-sleeve shirt under an insulated jacket or vest. Wear gloves or mittens and a thin beanie.
  • 10° TO 35°F AND SLEET- Wear tights, a water-resistant jacket, and a cap. Add water-resistant mittens to keep your hands from getting damp and cold.
  • –10°F AND CLEAR- Wear wool underwear and thick socks, tights, and running pants. To keep your core warm, go with a long-sleeve base layer under an insulated vest and windproof jacket. Wear a beanie and mittens.
  • –10°F AND SNOWY- Use the same cover-everything strategy as above for the bottom half. On top, wear an insulated vest and a water-resistant or waterproof hooded jacket over your base layer. Wear water-resistant hat and gloves.

WARNING!

As long as you’re dressed for the conditions, and exercising even at an easy level, you can produce enough body heat to offset the cold. Still, when it is severely cold outside, be sure to watch out for these two conditions:

  • HYPOTHERMIA: Hypothermia strikes when your body loses more heat than it can produce, and your core temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). Symptoms can vary widely but typically start with shivering and numbness and progress to confusion and lack of coordination. You’re most at risk when it’s rainy or snowy and your skin is damp. That’s because water transfers heat away from your body much more quickly than air does.
  • FROSTBITE: Frostbite happens when the skin temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) and most commonly strikes the nose, ears, cheeks, fingers, and toes. It can start with tingling, burning, aching, and redness, then progress to numbness. Windy and wet days are the riskiest times for frostbite. When the wind chill falls below –18 degrees Fahrenheit (–27 degrees Celsius), you can develop frostbite on exposed skin in 30 minutes or less.
  • Layer up. The first layer should be synthetic to draw sweat away, the second should be heavy fleece or wool to insulate, and the third should be breathable waterproof material to repel wind and rain. Avoid cotton, since it will lose its insulating powers when we become sweaty and wet. For extra credit, wear a face mask or scarf to warm the air before it enters the lungs.
  • Cover up the head, fingers, and toes. Blood flow stays concentrated in our core, making our limbs more susceptible to the cold. Be sure to wear gloves, and consider buying roomier shoes to accommodate thick thermal socks. And heads up! A large percentage of body heat is lost through the head, so wear a hat to trap the heat.
  • Avoid the rain and wind. The body has a hard time managing its temperature when wet; water draws heat away from the body 25 times faster than air because of its higher density and heat capacity. Strong winds can also be dangerous, pushing air and moisture through our clothes and removing the layer of warm air that surrounds the body.
  • Don’t overdress. Since our bodies warm up once they get movin’, we should feel cold at first. When performing higher-intensity activities, overdressing can lead to excess sweating, which will cause the body to become wet. Damp skin is an unfortunate conductor of heat loss, and will lower body temperature and increase the risk of hypothermia.
  • Know the warning signs. The first sign of frostbite is numbness, followed by a tingling or burning sensation. For hypothermia, shivering and confusion are red flags. By dressing properly, any outdoor-athlete can avoid cold-related injuries.

12 Winter Workout Tips for Exercising Outdoors No Matter the Weather

It can be tough to head outside on rainy or snowy days. But not with these 12 winter exercise tips to stay warm and injury-free when working out in cold weather.

Keeping extremities (like ears and hands) covered in cold weather is important when you’re exercising outdoors. iStock

Has winter sent your outdoor fitness habit into hibernation? Don’t wait until spring to get back outside.

Outdoor exercise is good for your body and mind, no matter the time of year. “Getting outside, even in the cold, allows us to reconnect with nature, break away from the digital and concrete world as well as boost focus and creativity,” says Eric Ridings, a personal trainer and exercise massage therapist in private practice in Chicago.

Exercise can help ward off the winter blues, boost energy, and prevent weight gain during the time of year most people add some extra insulation.

RELATED: The Ultimate Winter Wellness Guide

Try these cold-weather fitness tips to stay safe, warm, and fit.

1. Dress ‘Dry,’ Not Just ‘Warm’

The quickest way to lose body heat is to get wet. Because water is an efficient heat conductor — moving heat away from the area of highest concentration (your body) to the lowest (cold air outside) — getting wet will quickly leave you chilled and miserable. If you’re cold and wet you may be more inclined to cut your workout short, and you also increase your risk for hypothermia (when your core body temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit) or, in freezing conditions, for getting frostbite, Ridings says.

“Wet fabric next to your skin will zap your body heat and give you an unwanted chill,” says Jeff Galloway, a former Olympic runner and the author of Running: Getting Started (and other running training books and programs).

That means, skip active wear made from cotton, which soaks up sweat and rain and holds in moisture. He recommends opting for synthetic fibers instead, such as polyester, nylon, and polypropylene designed to dry quickly. “They wick away moisture about 50 percent faster than cotton,” Galloway says.

2. Layer Up

Don’t stop at sweat-wicking clothes. You also need layers to trap warm air next to your body and keep out the elements (like rain, snow, and wind), says Brian Calkins, an American Council on Exercise–certified personal trainer and the president of HealthStyle Fitness in Cincinnati.

Here’s how to layer up for winter workouts: First, put on a thin base layer made of synthetic fabrics (discussed above) 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 layer (or shell) to protect you from wind, snow, and rain.

Depending on the weather, your outer shell can be a lightweight nylon windbreaker or vest, or a heavyweight, waterproof jacket. Note that the more water-repellent the shell, the less it will allow moisture from the inside (your sweat) to escape, even if you’re wearing the proper base layer.

3. Opt for Bright Colors

Black may be chic, but bright clothes are better for outdoor exercise. Not only is it colder in winter, it’s darker too. Poor visibility from rain, snow, or overcast or dark skies makes it tougher for others to see you. This applies whether you’re sharing the road with motorists or sharing the trail or path with other snow-sports enthusiasts.

Wear brightly colored clothing and gear whenever possible and consider purchasing reflective gear or blinking lights, Ridings says. Apart from helping others see you, wearable flashlights are great because they improve visibility for you, too, to help prevent missteps and falls.

4. Protect Your Extremities

Fingers, ears, nose, and toes are affected most by chilly temperatures because “blood is shunted to the core of the body, leaving less blood (and subsequently less heat) available to hands and feet,” Calkins says.

To keep your extremities from freezing, wear a hat or headband and gloves or mittens. You can always take them off and tuck them in a pocket if you get warm. Thick socks also help. All these add-ons should be wool or synthetic, rather than cotton, to help keep sweat off your skin. Men may also need to consider a good pair of technical briefs, underwear made from synthetic fabrics, or extra layers as needed, Galloway says.

If you find your toes getting particularly chilly, consider the design of your shoes. “Running shoes are designed to let heat escape, but in chilly weather the cold comes right in,” Galloway says. Shoe covers, which you can find at a skiing or hiking retailer, can help lock out the cold. You can also visit a specialty running store to try on shoes that are specially designed to withstand the winter elements.

5. Protect Your Skin

Winter air isn’t just cold, it’s dry. To keep your skin from drying out with it, drink plenty of water (roughly eight 8-ounce glasses per day) and rub on moisturizing cream or lotion, Ridings says. He recommends applying Vaseline to sensitive areas like the nostrils, tip of the nose, and ears for more protection. To block out biting winds, consider keeping your face covered with a running mask or scarf.

RELATED: Moisturizers Dermatologists Recommend for Soothing Dry Winter Skin

And here’s something you might not have thought about: the sun. Yes, you can get sunburn in the winter. Even if it’s cloudy, UV rays can reach and damage the skin. What’s more, it’s important to realize that snow reflects up to 80 percent of UV rays, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, so when there’s snow out you’re hit by many of the same rays twice.

If you’re skiing or snowboarding in the mountains, your risk of sunburns is even higher. For every 1,000 feet of elevation, UV exposure increases 4 to 5 percent, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Before heading out for a winter workout (no matter the elevation), apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to your face and any other skin that will be exposed and apply SPF lip balm before, during, and after your workout. And don’t forget to protect your eyes with UV-blocking sunglasses, Ridings says.

RELATED: Top Tips for Healthy Winter Skin

6. Check Your Traction

Winter workouts can get slippery fast if any rain, snow, or ice is involved. If any of these elements are present, “Stay on plowed or salted surfaces,” Ridings says. Back roads and trails may not be as well maintained, and may have hidden obstacles that could lead to ankle or other injuries.

If you do plan to run or walk on snowy, icy surfaces, attaching snow or ice spikes to your running shoes will help you maintain traction to reduce the risk of falls, he says. But it’s important to stay off pavement if you’re wearing spikes. They’re designed to pierce snow or ice, so on paved surfaces they can impede balance instead.

7. Do a Warm-Up First

There’s no getting around the need for a good warm-up, no matter what the mercury reads. But it’s especially important to prep for cold-weather workouts. Dynamic warm-ups increase blood flow and temperature in the muscles to help decrease the risk of injuries.

“When exercising in colder temperatures, you’re at increased risk for sprains and strains,” says Debi Pillarella, an Indiana-based personal trainer and spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise. Think of it as like stretching a cold rubber band. It easily snaps, right? Warm it up, though, and it becomes more pliable and less likely to fray.

The best dynamic warm-up for you depends on what type of workout you’re doing. But for all warm-ups, be sure they include low-intensity movements that mimic the exercise you’re about to perform. If you’re a runner, for instance, a dynamic warm-up might include bodyweight lunges and squats, arm swings, and core activation work, Calkins says.

And be sure not to confuse warming up with static, bend-and-hold stretching. Those stretches are best saved until the end of your workout.

RELATED: All About Rest, Recovery, and How to Let Your Muscles Heal

8. Breathe Right

If you’ve gotten your heart rate up when the temperatures start to drop to the freezing point, you know it feels different from when you’re working out in warmer temperatures. It can actually hurt to breathe because of how your body reacts to cold, dry air.

“In cold weather, airway passages tend to narrow, which makes inhalation more difficult,” says Pillarella.

Breathing in through your nose can help warm and humidify air, but that’s not always feasible when you’re exerting yourself and breathing heavily. Wrapping a bandanna or scarf around your mouth (or another thin fabric layer) can help trap water vapor in when you breathe out to keep air more moist as you continue to breathe.

RELATED: How to Deal With Cold Weather Injuries

9. Remove Layers as You Heat Up

“The biggest mistake in dressing for cold weather exercise is putting on too many layers and not peeling them off in time,” Galloway says. After all, exercising will considerably warm you, and you don’t want to get ridiculously sweaty when you’re in subfreezing temps — leaving you at risk of everything from dehydration to frostbite.

As soon as you start to feel like your body temp is at about baseline, that’s the time to start discarding layers. “Remove it and tie it around your waist. If you get cold later, you can put it back on.”

Also, keep in mind that your exercise intensity will affect how many layers you need — and how soon you need to start removing them. Runners tend to need fewer layers than walkers because they move faster and produce more body heat.

RELATED: How to Dress for Every Winter Workout

10. Drink Up

Some people don’t feel as thirsty during cold-weather workouts as they do during warmer-weather workouts, Galloway says. But you’re still losing fluids through sweat and breathing in lower temperatures. And you still need to replace those fluids by drinking water.

Sip water during your workout and switch to a sports drink, such as Gatorade, if you’re planning to exercise for 90 minutes or longer (and not fueling up with other energy gels or chews), Galloway recommends. But not overdoing it is important. No matter how much water you gulp down, your body tends to only be able to absorb three to four ounces at a time, Galloway says.

RELATED: What to Eat Before, During, and After Your Workout

Not sure how well hydrated you are? Pillarella says to pay attention to your urine. “Dark, low volume, and infrequent urination indicate that you need more fluid,” she says. Conversely, clear urine with high volume and frequency may mean you’re hydrating too much.

11. Head Into the Wind — to Start

The faster you’re moving, the higher the wind-chill factor — and your risk for hypothermia, Galloway says.

To help reduce the impact and keep you core body temp up, make sure that (if you’re performing an activity in a loop, like running, cycling, or skiing) you head into the wind at the beginning. That ensures that, on your way back, when you’re at your sweatiest and have the greatest risk of losing body heat, you aren’t fighting the wind chill as well, he says. Keep the wind at your back and wear a wind-breaking layer (see tip number two). Let it push you forward.

12. Cool Down and Then Change Out of Damp Gear

Once you stop moving after a cold-weather workout, you’ll get chilled fast. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to cool down. Whatever the weather, a cool-down is important after sustained exercise, Calkins says. “It helps your body eliminate exercise by-products and reduce potential muscle soreness.”

It also helps your heart take care of itself, Galloway adds. “Going straight from strenuous exercise to standing around creates stress for your heart.” He advises gradually tapering your exercise intensity during the final 5 to 10 minutes. Then, once breathing and heart rate normalize, repeat your warm-up and do some static stretching.

Then it’s time 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.

RELATED: Should You Work Out When You’re Sick?

6 reasons why it’s even more important to exercise in winter

Winter is here and it’s starting to get cold and when it’s cold it’s really hard to stay motivated about your health and fitness!!

We tend to take on a “Snuggle up” mentality, we eat more and we do less – human hibernation! But we are not bears, we don’t need layers and layers of fat. And for this reason whilst our overindulgence feels good it also feeds negativity, too much chocolate, too many roast potatoes… the need for a baggier top, the avoidance of the mirror it can be a 12 week spiral and then we hate our spring bodies!

Winter brings the cold, illness, the blues and isolation.

So consider the following.

Exercise in winter can provide more benefit than exercise during the rest of the year, because it specifically answers our winter body needs.

Here are the top 6 reasons to keep exercising when the temperature drops.

1. The sun is more of a friend than your heater

There’s a reason it’s called the sunshine vitamin. While there are a limited number of foods that can provide your body with vitamin D, the easiest source is from exposure of bare skin to sunlight.

During summer a short exposure of 10-15 minutes is plenty, but in winter, sunshine can be harder to come by, especially if you are snuggled up indoors. So that’s why its VERY important to get outside and get moving and smile at the sun!

Sunshine makes strong bones, and keeps your immune system strong. It can also boost positivity, help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

2. Keep warm

Save electricity and an expanding waistline by heating your body up naturally with a workout. The rise in your body temperature, during a work out, has a soothing, calming effect on your body, not unlike a long soak in a warm bath or lying in front of the heater.

Yes, its cold when you first step outside, but if you layer up (daggy doesn’t matter) and get moving you will be hot within no time at all! And we mean HOT!

3. Stay healthy

Research has shown time and again that regular exercise strengthens your immune system so it can fight off bacterial and viral infections. This becomes particularly important in winter when colds and flu rear their ugly heads.

When you exercise and get your blood pumping, immune cells circulate through your body more quickly helping them seek and destroy infections. But this boost only lasts for a few hours, so exercise needs to be regular for long-term effects. (book into one of our camps now and get down to the park!)

4. Beat the winter blues

Whether it’s the usual winter blues or the more serious SAD (seasonal affective disorder) putting a gloom over the colder months. A daily workout releases feel-good, de-stress brain chemicals, gives you a break from the daily grind and helps ease depression. Plus, if you combine exercise with the great outdoors you can cheer yourself up even more!

We know that after exercise, the brain releases the “feel-good” chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which can help to reduce anxiety and depression while boosting wellbeing,”

45 minutes in the day could change your whole outlook on winter!!

5. Take a deep breath

Being cooped up with nothing but heaters to keep the air moving means fresh air is much harder to come by in winter! Generally, the air outside is healthier then that inside so going for a walk or run outside gives your lungs a chance to detox and breathe deeply without concern for breathing in other people’s bugs (at home or from the office!). Check out our tips on meditation.

6. Avoid winter weight gain

In the colder months it is so easy to turn to comfort food, because its so satisfying and it makes us feel good, well for a little anyway, and then we feel guilty. Its so easy to become a hibernating bear! No wonder it’s known as the ‘winter weight gain’ period. The average person puts on up to 4 kg! The only way to make up for those added treats is to increase the amount of exercise you’re doing. Try and balance your energy in and energy out then the shredding of clothes in spring wont be such a shock!

We hope we have inspired you. Getting up and out and moving with Live Life Get Active is easy. We are in the park Monday to Friday and we always have fun. So if you are looking for a bit of motivation and a buddy to push you on in these winter weeks, then register today, book in and say goodbye to the hibernating bear!!!

When winter blows in, you can pull the blankets over your head and go back to sleep—or you can suit up and head out for an outdoor winter adventure! The American Heart Association offers these tips for working out in the cold of winter.

There’s no reason you need to take a break from physical activity when the temperature drops. In fact, exercising in cooler weather has some distinct advantages over working out in warmer weather.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  1. No heat and humidity to deal with. Winter’s chill might even make you feel awake and invigorated.
  2. You may be able to work out longer in cold weather—which means you can burn even more calories.
  3. It’s a great way to take in the sunlight (in small doses). Not only can light improve many people’s moods, it also helps you get some vitamin D.
  4. Exercise boosts your immunity during cold and flu season. Just a few minutes a day can help prevent simple bacterial and viral infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Try these outdoor activities:

  • Brisk walking or hiking
  • Jogging or running
  • Raking leaves
  • Shoveling snow
  • Ice skating
  • Sledding
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Snowshoeing

Stay Warm, Stay Safe

Staying warm and dry when heading out to exercise in cold weather is all about layers. A little preparation can keep you safe from cold weather hazards like hypothermia and frostbite.

Cold temperatures, strong winds and damp conditions (like rain and snow) steal your body heat. For example, according to the National Weather Service, a 30-degree day with 30-mile-an-hour wind feels like about 15 degrees. And if you get wet (from rain, snow or perspiration) that effect is only magnified. That’s why layers of clothing are so important. They help trap the heat and form a kind of insulation against the elements.

Resist your instinct to start layering with cotton. Once cotton becomes wet with sweat or snow, the moisture is trapped and will actually make you feel colder (and heavier). For your first layer, you want something that pulls moisture away from your skin, like the moisture wicking fabrics used in high-performance sportswear. Next, add a layer of fleece; finally, top with a thin waterproof layer.

Know the Signs

Hypothermia means the body temperature has fallen below 35 degrees Celsius or about 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It occurs when your body can’t produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warm enough. It can kill you.

Symptoms can include:

  • lack of coordination
  • mental confusion
  • slowed reactions
  • slurred speech
  • cold feet and hands
  • shivering
  • sleepiness

Children and the elderly may be at more risk because they may have limited ability to communicate or impaired mobility. Elderly people may also have lower subcutaneous fat and a diminished ability to sense temperature, so they can suffer hypothermia without knowing they’re in danger.

Stay Hydrated

Don’t forget to drink water when exercising in cooler weather. Thirst isn’t the best indicator that you need to drink.

Bye-Bye, Couch Potato!

If the winter weather prevents you from getting outside, don’t just reach for the remote. Make your time inside count. There are many ways to get physical activity indoors—no gym required. Hand weights or resistance bands are a great addition, but not necessary. You can also wear a heavy backpack to add intensity to your workout.

Try these indoor activities:

  • Home workout circuit
  • Dancing
  • Active housework like vacuuming and sweeping
  • Mall walking
  • Bowling
  • Roller skating
  • Yoga or other fun group classes at your local gym, studio, or community center
  • Stair climbing

Fit in Fitness

Follow the American Heart Association physical activity recommendations of at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week to improve your quality of life. Move more, with more intensity, and sit less.

What if I’m recovering from a cardiac event or stroke?

Some people are afraid to exercise after a heart attack. But regular physical activity can help reduce your chances of having another heart attack.

The AHA published a statement in 2014 that doctors should prescribe exercise to stroke patients since there is strong evidence that physical activity and exercise after stroke can improve cardiovascular fitness, walking ability and upper arm strength.

If you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, talk with your doctor before starting any exercise to be sure you’re following a safe, effective physical activity program.

The mercury may be falling soon, but that doesn’t mean you have to sideline your outdoor workout for the winter. A little preparation can go a long way toward full enjoyment and high performance levels during colder weather.

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Proper attire can help you maintain your core body temperature and reduce cold weather-related risks. Keep these five tips in mind to make sure Old Man Winter doesn’t sideline your sport this season:

Pile on the layers

Layering is your best winter sports strategy. The layer closest to your skin should be a moisture-wicking material, like lightweight polyester or polypropylene, to take moisture away from your skin to the outer layers to evaporate. The second layer is the insulating layer, which should be wool or polyester fleece. The third, outer layer needs to be wind and rain-repellent. When exercising in the cold, this third layer should be removed unless it is raining, snowing or very windy. If worn during exercise, this layer can trap sweat and not allow for proper evaporation. You can always put the top layer back on during rest times outdoors.

Cover your head

Be sure to cover your head with a hat or helmet to decrease heat loss.

The mitten/glove decision

If finger dexterity is not important for your cold weather activity of choice, wear mittens instead of gloves. If gloves are necessary, consider wearing a thin liner under the gloves for better insulation.

Protect your feet

Dry, warm feet are essential for decreasing the risk of a cold-weather injury and preventing blisters. Socks should wick moisture away from your feet to your boot. Avoid cotton socks. Cotton keeps moisture next to the skin. More appropriate fabrics include wool or synthetic fibers with moisture-wicking capability.

Don’t forget about fit

If you layer socks, be sure your boot is large enough to ensure proper circulation.

Other factors to consider

Besides your choice in clothing, other factors to consider in preparing for cold weather exercise are fitness level and age.

A higher physical fitness level does not directly improve your body’s ability to regulate temperature in the cold. But it can allow people to exercise for longer periods of time at a higher intensity, which can help maintain core body temperature.

People older than 60 — as well as children — are at an increased risk of hypothermia. If this is you, use extra caution when being active outside in the cold. Be sure to follow the above tips, avoid getting wet and keep your hat and gloves on at all times.

Hypothermia is when your body’s core temperature falls to lower than 95 degrees. It happens when your body can’t produce enough energy to keep your body’s internal temperature warm enough.

Symptoms include:

  • decrease in blood flow to the skin
  • increase in heat production through shivering
  • lowered dexterity that can inhibit performance in activities that require catching, throwing or marksmanship
  • needing more energy to exercise

Keep the weather in mind

It’s also important to make sure you take steps to avoid a fall on slippery ice or snow. Be aware of the weather, and keep in mind that ice is likely if it’s 32 degrees or colder outside.

Wear proper footwear and select shoes or boots with a good tread. Make sure the surface that you are exercising on is shoveled and de-iced.

Contributor: Dominic King, DO

7 Tips For Exercising in Cold Weather

Almost everyone can work out safely in cold weather.

In fact, scientists have suggested no temperature is too low to exercise outdoors as long as you suit up to minimize cold-weather risks. And though it’s obvious that high-intensity workouts—like boot camp training or running—are better choices for staying warm than, say, yoga, your body will work to maintain a core temp of 98.6 degrees no matter what you’re doing.

“I still remember working out in 9 degrees,” says Anthony Burdi, co-founder of The Rise, a year-round outdoor workout group based in New York. “Afterward we said, ‘I can’t believe what we just did!’ But it’s not as bad as you think.”

Exercising outdoors when the temperature drops below freezing does come with annoyances. But that runny nose is a good sign. The inside of the nose moistens to humidify the air we inhale, and the excess fluids creep out our nostrils.

As for that icy air hitting your lungs? It’s basically impossible for freezing air to damage your lungs. Try wearing a scarf and keep layers on your chest to feel warmer as you inhale.

There are a few groups of people who should be cautious before trekking outdoors for a mid-winter run.

If you have asthma, the cold, dry air can trigger lung tightness and asthma attacks while exercising. And if you’ve been diagnosed with poor blood circulation or heart problems, it’s best to check with your doc first before hitting the frozen pavement.

1. Negative Windchill

“Extreme wind chill can make it unsafe—even if you dress warmly,” says Lipi Roy, M.D., an internist at Massachusetts General Hospital and instructor at Harvard Medical School.

As a general rule, if it’s warmer than five degrees (F), your chances of frostbite are low, Roy says. But when the windchill brings temps down to below -15 degrees, exposed skin can get frostbitten in less than 30 minutes.

Translation: The treadmill is calling your name.

2. Know the Warning Signs

The first sign of frostbite is numbness, followed by a tingling or burning sensation. If you suspect frostbite, head back inside and warm the area gradually by running it under lukewarm water or wrapping it in a warm blanket, Roy says.

While you can treat superficial frostbite at home, hypothermia is a true medical emergency. If anyone you’re working out with has slurred speech, intense shivering, or a loss of coordination, get to a hospital stat.

3. Wear Synthetic Fabrics, Fleece and Wool

“The first layer should be synthetic—something that will wick moisture away from your skin,” Roy says.

The second layer should be fleece or wool to help insulate, and the third should be a breathable, waterproof layer to help repel wind. Avoid cotton: It loses its insulating power when we become sweaty.

“The one thing I’m always really adamant about is having something dry to change into,” says Chris Lopez, another member of The Rise. “When the workout is over, you don’t want to be stuck in wet, sweaty clothes when it’s 30 degrees outside.”

Living Naturally

Baby, it may be cold outside but that is absolutely no excuse not to exercise.

We know how hard it is in the winter. Freezing and frosty mornings aren’t particularly conducive to getting out of your warm bed. However, there are proven benefits to exercising that are hard to ignore. These benefits exist year round, mind you. It’s just that often we all need that extra little boost when the chill grey skies can have us flagging. Learn our six hot tips to get you motivated to challenge the wind and rain this winter.

1. Warm up First

Take an extra amount of time to warm up. Lack of a proper warm up is the easiest way you can injure yourself. It can be tempting to do a short warm up and then go hard just to get warmer quicker. But this is when aches, sprains, and pulled muscles can occur.

It can be helpful to take a warm shower before you head outside. This will help prepare your body (and mind) for the shock of the cold. Then ensure that you start a gentle warm up jog, before moving into a series of stretches and then off you go. This way you can run your hardest or hit the gym, with less chance of injury. Additionally, try looking out for products that contain Arnica Montana, as it is a homeopathic and herbal ingredient that may help relieve your aches and strains.

2. Get Outside

There is nothing quite like an invigorating morning run. With the frost and mist creeping around, it is stunning. Usually, parks and trails are deserted except for the hard core amongst us. It can be an excellent time to readjust the senses and meditate on the day ahead of you.

It’s also important that we get Vitamin D. Yes, even an Australian winter can see us lacking in this vital vitamin. It can aid everything from sleep, stress management, healthy bones and weight management. So, do your best to get outside, as our bodies naturally produce Vitamin D when exposed to the sun. What better way to do it than as it rises on a misty morning?

3. Stay Inside

If cold really is anathema to you, then take this opportunity to stay indoors and work on those guns. By this we mean it’s time to get back into resistance training. You won’t necessarily end up with the muscles of a bodybuilder. However, resistance training is an important component for building strong, healthy bones. It helps maintain muscle and bone density later in life, too. It is also worth considering yoga or workout DVDs. These are exercises that you can do in your own time from the comfort of your home. Check out our home-grown Adelaide girl Kayla Itsines for more home workout inspiration.

4. Team Games

Does the idea of slogging out into the cold, leave you cold? Can’t motivate yourself to wake up in the dark to get to your pre-work gym class? Maybe it’s time to consider a team sport. These can be fun, motivating and provide a much needed social respite. A great combination of health and well-being. A lot of people tend to hibernate or enter social cocoons when the wind, rain and hail is lashing outside. Yet winter is traditionally associated with team sports like hockey, football and netball. Get a group of friends together and you will be surprised how much you egg each other on. It is friendship, laughter, inspiration and fitness all at once. The ultimate mental and physical fitness combination.

5. Prepare Your Defences

This is the season for upping your ante on boosting your immune system. This means defending yourself against cold and flu bugs. This will help to keep your body in ship-shape for your exercise routine. Alternatives are always an attractive option when considering a holistic approach. Start from the top and work your way down. Sinus issues can easily flare up in the cold. So use a homoeopathic treatment like our Sinus Oral Spray. This includes ingredients such as Silica and Purple Pasque Flower that are traditionally used in homoeopathic medicine to help relieve the symptoms of sinusitis and sinus pain. Don’t forget to hydrate either, you need to drink as much in winter as you do in summer. Also consider echinacea, vitamin C and garlic supplements. There have been studies that suggest these may aid in the prevention of illnesses like colds and flu. If you feel the dreaded lurgy coming on, consider trying out some over the counter cold & flu remedies. The number one defence? Ensure that you are eating a balanced and nutritious diet. This will be your best aid in preventing illness and maintaining your winter health.

6. Recovery

This is the most important step of all. Stretch properly and cool down, just as you did at the beginning. This will help prevent lactic acid from building up and causing your pain later. If you do get soreness, try using a complementary medicine to treat it. Keep chapped lips from frosty runs at bay with our paw paw balm for your lips and our paw paw ointment for hands and elbows. Our formula is rich in Paw Paw with the added nourishment of Shea Butter, Honey, Vitamin E and Grapeseed Oil.

And remember to rest afterwards, your body needs to heal and grow from your workout. That’s what a recovery period is all about.

So don’t make like the proverbial bear and hibernate this winter. Instead, get outside and enjoy the invigorating effects and spoils of the season. As a bonus, cold weather burns more fat! So do yourself a favour. Your health, body and mind will thank you for it.

Liked this? Why not subscribe to our Living Naturally blog to learn more helpful hints and tricks to get you living the best lifestyle you can.

Dressing in layers, protecting your hands and feet, and paying attention to the forecast can help you stay safe and warm while exercising outdoors in cold weather.

Cold weather can discourage even the most motivated exercisers. And if you’re not as motivated, it’s all too easy to pack away your workout gear along with your warm-weather clothing. But you don’t have to let cold weather spell the end of your exercise. With these tips for exercising during cold weather, you can stay fit, motivated and warm when the weather turns chilly.

STAY SAFE DURING COLD-WEATHER EXERCISE

Almost everyone can exercise safely during cold weather. But if you have certain conditions, such as asthma, heart problems or Raynaud’s disease, check with your doctor before you work out in cold weather. Your doctor can review any special precautions you need based on your condition or medications you might take.

The following tips can help you stay safe — and warm — while exercising in the cold.

Pay attention to weather conditions and wind chill

Before heading out, check the forecast for the time you’ll be outside. Temperature, wind and moisture, along with the length of time that you’ll be outside, are key considerations in planning a safe cold-weather workout.

The combination of wind and cold make up the wind chill index, which is commonly included in winter weather forecasts. Wind chill extremes can make exercising outdoors unsafe even if you dress warmly. The wind can penetrate your clothes and remove the insulating layer of warm air that surrounds your body, and any exposed skin is vulnerable to frostbite.

Although the risk of frostbite is less than 5 percent when the air temperature is above 5 F (minus 15 C), the risk increases as the wind chill falls. At wind chill levels below minus 18 F (minus 27 C), frostbite can occur on exposed skin in 30 minutes or less.

If the temperature dips below 0 F (minus 17.8 C) or the wind chill is extreme, consider taking a break or choosing an indoor exercise instead. Similarly, consider putting off your workout if it’s raining or snowing unless you have waterproof gear. Getting wet makes you more vulnerable to the cold. And if you get soaked, you may not be able to keep your core body temperature high enough.

Know the signs of frostbite & hypothermia

Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite is most common on exposed skin, such as your cheeks, nose and ears, but it can also occur on hands and feet. Early warning signs include numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation.

If you suspect frostbite, get out of the cold immediately and slowly warm the affected area — but don’t rub it since that can damage your skin. If numbness continues, seek emergency care.

Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Exercising in cold, rainy weather increases the risk of hypothermia, as does being an older adult.

Hypothermia signs and symptoms include intense shivering, slurred speech, loss of coordination and fatigue. Seek emergency help right away for possible hypothermia.

Dress in layers

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when exercising in cold weather is to dress too warmly. Exercise generates a considerable amount of heat — enough to make you feel like it’s much warmer than it really is. The evaporation of sweat, however, can make you lose heat from your body and feel chilled. The solution?

Dress in layers that you can remove as soon as you start to sweat and then put back on as needed. First, put on a thin layer of synthetic material, such as polypropylene, which draws sweat away from your body. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin.

Next, add a layer of fleece or wool for insulation. Top this with a waterproof, breathable outer layer.

You may need to experiment before you find a combination of clothing that works well for you based on your exercise intensity. If you’re lean, you may need more insulation than someone who is heavier.

Keep in mind, too, that stop-and-go activities, such as mixing walking with running, can make you more vulnerable to the cold if you repeatedly work up a sweat and then get chilly.

Protect your head, hands, feet & ears

When it’s cold, blood flow is concentrated on your body’s core, leaving your head, hands and feet vulnerable to frostbite. Try wearing a thin pair of glove liners made of a wicking material (like polypropylene) under a pair of heavier gloves or mittens lined with wool or fleece. Put on the mittens or gloves before your hands become cold and then remove the outer pair if your hands begin to sweat.

Considering buying exercise shoes a half-size or one size larger than usual to allow for thick thermal socks or an extra pair of regular socks. And don’t forget a hat to protect your head or headband to protect your ears. If it’s very cold, consider wearing a scarf or ski mask to cover your face.

Don’t forget safety gear – and sunscreen

If it’s dark when you exercise outside, wear reflective clothing. To stay steady on your feet, choose footwear with enough traction to prevent falls, especially if it’s icy or snowy. Wear a helmet while skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. Consider using chemical heat packs to warm up your hands or feet, especially if you have a tendency to have cold fingers and toes or if you have a condition such as Raynaud’s disease.

It’s as easy to get sunburned in winter as in summer — even more so if you’re exercising in the snow or at high altitudes. Wear a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and a lip balm that contains sunscreen as well. And protect your eyes from snow and ice glare with dark glasses or goggles.

Drink plenty of fluids

You need to stay well hydrated when exercising in cold weather just as you do when exercising in warm weather. Drink water or sports drinks before, during and after your workout, even if you’re not really thirsty. You can become just as dehydrated in the cold as in the heat from sweating, breathing, the drying power of the winter wind, and increased urine production, but it may be harder to notice during cold weather.

Putting it all together for cold-weather safety

These tips can help you safely — and enjoyably — exercise when the weather turns chilly. But as you exercise during cold weather, continually monitor how your body feels to help prevent cold-weather injuries, such as frostbite. Consider shortening your outdoor workout or skipping it altogether during weather extremes, and know when to head home and warm up. Also, be sure to let someone know your exercise route and your expected return time, in case something does go wrong.

source: Mayo Clinic

Dear Lifehacker,
Throughout the year, I’ve been pretty good about keeping up my exercise routine of jogging, cycling, and other outdoor activities. But now that winter’s here in full force, I’m really struggling to get outside. What can I do to keep my routine when it’s freezing outside?

Sincerely,
Too Snowy to Run

Dear TSR,
Going out for just a walk during the cold and dark winter months is hard enough, so we’re sympathetic to the troubles of trying to actually exercise when it’s 20 degrees out. Thankfully, it’s not impossible to get the motivation to exercise in the winter and even if you can’t go outside you have other options.

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Get Yourself Pumped Up to Exercise in Winter

It’s easy to get into winter hibernation mode, and that means the hardest thing about exercising in winter is getting up the ambition to do it. We’ve talked a lot about motivating yourself to exercise in general, but getting yourself to exercise in the winter is a bit of its own beast.

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Everyone’s method of motivation is a bit different, but experts have all kinds of recommendations. Over on WebMD, Richard Cotton PhD suggests gettings yourself warmed up:

To acclimate, of course, you’ll have to keep working out through the cold — a bit of a Catch-22. It will be easier to make yourself go outside, though, says Cotton, if you warm up inside first. “Take five to 10 minutes and do some low level aerobic exercise like jogging in place or doing jumping jacks,” he advises. “That way, when you step outside, you’ll already be warm.”

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It’s not just about motivation either, doing so is good for your health. The Telegraph explains:

t is useful to recognise why it is particularly pertinent to tackle the winter onslaught by getting moving. The colder temperature in winter can cause your blood vessels to constrict, thickening the blood, which puts you at a higher risk of a heart attack. If you go from a hot to cold or cold to hot environment and your body changes temperature quickly, your blood becomes “sticky” and again, puts you more at risk of heart attack and strokes…. Chest infections are more common, too. If you feel your motivation waning when it’s cold, remind yourself that exercise is more – not less – important than in the summer.

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It’s also a good idea to think of your winter workouts as training. Since most big exercise events are in the summer, the winter’s all about getting yourself ready for those events. The Huffington Post suggests keeping those summer goals in mind to get yourself outside:

“What are your goals for spring or summer? Half-marathon? Tough Mudder? Parkour in Paris?” asks Ford. “Whatever it may be, training with that forward-thinking mindset can make a little less depressing and a little more exciting. There’s no pressure now to perform or compete.”

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Really, exercising in the winter is no different than any other time of the year, but it’s nice to know that everyone tends to struggle with motivation in the winter months.

Dress the Part and Go Outside Anyway

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Depending on where you are, the winter months might mean cold weather, wet weather, or both. Either way, you probably can’t hit the streets in your neon short shorts and tank top like you could in the summer. If you’ve got the gusto to keep exercising outside in the winter you really only need a slight change of clothes to do so comfortably.

We’ve covered the basics of staying safe when exercising outdoors before, and in the winter that generally means wearing bright colors, dressing in layers, remembering to keep hydrated, and staying visible. Runner’s World has a guide for clothing that applies to pretty much any outdoor exercise you might want to do:

  • 35° TO 45°F AND CLEAR- Wear tights or thin running pants, a long-sleeve shirt, and a vest. You may also need gloves when the temp gets near 35°F.
  • 35° TO 45°F AND RAINY- Slim-fitting tights fare better in rain since they won’t get as droopy. A wool base layer will keep you warmer than a synthetic top since it retains warmth when wet. Wear a waterproof outer layer.
  • 10° TO 35°F AND CLEAR- Wear technical underwear under your tights or pants and a long-sleeve shirt under an insulated jacket or vest. Wear gloves or mittens and a thin beanie.
  • 10° TO 35°F AND SLEET- Wear tights, a water-resistant jacket, and a cap. Add water-resistant mittens to keep your hands from getting damp and cold.
  • –10°F AND CLEAR- Wear wool underwear and thick socks, tights, and running pants. To keep your core warm, go with a long-sleeve base layer under an insulated vest and windproof jacket. Wear a beanie and mittens.
  • –10°F AND SNOWY- Use the same cover-everything strategy as above for the bottom half. On top, wear an insulated vest and a water-resistant or waterproof hooded jacket over your base layer. Wear water-resistant hat and gloves.

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The main thing to remember when you’re exercising outside in the winter is to keep a close eye on your body and watch for hypothermia or frostbite. With darkness setting in earlier than in the summer, you should also make sure you have some bright clothes if you’re going out late in the afternoon.

It’s also okay to accept the that you might actually enjoy working out when it’s cold outside. Like motivating yourself to work out, accepting the fact you’ll have to do it outside is all about mindset. The New York Times lays it out like so:

But those of us who exercise in all sorts of weather will attest that there is a certain thrill that can come from terrible conditions. “It makes us tough,” Ms. Davis said. She calls our runs in horrendous conditions “epic runs.” And she’s right. They are truly memorable, ones we actually recall fondly.

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Thankfully, you don’t even have to be a runner—cycling in the winter isn’t as hard as it look either.

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Find Winter-Friendly Alternate Activities

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Exercising outside in the winter isn’t always an option for everyone regardless of what clothes they wear. In that case, it means finding exercising you can do indoors or finding winter activities that count as exercise.

As for those winter activities, there are all kinds of things you can do in winter to work out your body. Fitbie has a few suggestions to mix up your routine in the winter:

“If you are a single-sport athlete, you have a lot to gain by mixing it up in the winter,” says Kohler. “You will work different muscle groups, switch gears, and learn a new activity. We recommend cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking in the snow, and mountain biking on packed snow to our clients. Anything that challenges the body to move in a way that it isn’t accustomed to moving is good for your overall fitness.”

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Likewise, you can also just bring your workout indoors. If you’re a runner, that might be a treadmill. If you’re a cyclist, spin classes might be up your alley, or if you’re a climber, the climbing gym should do the trick. Gym memberships aren’t cheap, but you can usually save money on a membership by getting off-peak memberships or showing little interest. Many gyms also have a la carte deals where you pay by visit or by month so you don’t have to get a yearly contract. Those prices are usually a lot higher than a yearly contract, but if you only have to use the gym for a month or two they’re not that bad. If the price is too much, your local community center likely has a small gym that’ll get you through the winter months.

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Of course, if you have the space you can also build your own home gym or just workout with just your body. Basically, even if you’re stuck indoors, you have a ton of options. Regardless of what you end up choosing to do, it’s important to stick to your routine as much as possible. If you’re working out three days a week at a certain time, continue that through winter. What you do doesn’t matter as much as you’d think as long as you keep yourself moving.

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Good luck,
Lifehacker

Photos by Mike Schmid, R.g-s, nonanet.

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Courtesy of Balance Festival

Struggling to maintain the exercise routine you managed to perfect in the summer months? You’re not alone. Getting yourself into the gym or heading out for a run on cold dark mornings and evenings takes a lot more motivation than it might do in July.

We asked some of London’s top fitness gurus how they stay in shape when the temperature drops and the days just keep getting shorter.

Have the right kit

“There is no such thing as bad weather, there are just bad clothing choices,” Zanna Van Dijk, the personal trainer and fitness blogger says. “If you are heading outdoors then you should invest in some good quality winter activewear. I mean thermal leggings, gloves, headbands – the lot! It makes outdoor training much more comfortable and reduces the risk of catching a chill.”

And it’s not just if you’re training outside. Even if you’re just in the gym, investing in some new workout gear can really help with your motivation. “I always find buying some new, bright kit gets me motivated,” the Balance Festival ambassador Corey Wharton-Malcolm says. “It’s hard not to take a new pair of trainers for a spin, or show off your new kit in the gym.”

Victoria’s Secret Sport

Make a plan you have to stick to

“Just as with most things, setting out a plan to your goals is a great way to stay motivated,” the Psycle and Equinox trainer Tameka Small says. “Instead of waiting for New Year’s resolutions, start now to set those goals. Whether it’s to feel better about yourself, change your body or even just de-stress. Once those goals are set, create a plan to get there even if it’s just adding the workouts into your calendar – it’ll give those sessions more importance.”

Van Dijk agrees: “Schedule in your workouts, write them in your diary and pretend it’s a doctor’s appointment you can’t miss”.

Stay inside

Cold weather outside does not mean you can’t exercise, even if you don’t have a gym membership. “You can easily workout in your very own home with just your own bodyweight,” Van Dijk says. “Free workouts can be found on Youtube that need no equipment.” Plus, remember that no journey to a gym means extra time in bed.

Victoria’s Secret Sport

Book a class or join a club

It is arguably the best time ever to be a fitness fanatic in London right now with so many fun and interesting classes at our disposal. Not only will heading to a barre or hot yoga class seem much more appealing than running along a cold road, but – as Van Dijk says – “the cancellation fee is great motivation to get you there on time!”

However, if you are a runner at heart and don’t fancy classes, try joining a club instead to help motivate you. “I would honestly recommend joining a running group and let something other than the running motivate you,” Wharton-Malcolm says. “Making new friends, meeting old ones or setting group goals – it really helps to keep you motivated.”

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Buddy up

Just as with joining a club, agreeing to exercise with a friend gives you an incentive (other than exercise) to do something active. “Motivating yourself through these dark months can be tough, so think about buddying up with a friend,” Small says. “It will help change your perspective of working out to something a little more enjoyable and sociable.” It’s also much more difficult to cancel on a friend than to just decide not to go yourself.

Remind yourself why it’s important

In those moments when you have to climb out of a warm, cosy bed and head into the cold, it can be difficult to remember how great you will feel afterwards. “Exercising on those dark cold days will actually help boost your body’s ‘feel good’ endorphins to help blast away those winter blues,” Small says. “Exercising has been found to boost your body’s serotonin, norepinephrine and stress response to help induce a natural state of calm leading into the hectic festive period. That’s motivation enough.”

But most importantly, be kind to yourself and your body

“It’s much harder to stay motivated when you don’t take enough time to relax and recover, leaving you feeling tired and sluggish,” Small explains. “When you get back from a fitness session, treat yourself to a nice mug of hot cocoa and a long hot bath with some salts to soothe tired and aching muscles. Also, it’s very important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep.”

Below: 10 fitness accounts to follow for inspiration

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Fitness Blog

How to Keep Working Out During the Winter

01.06.2015

Stick with Your Exercise Plan

Winter can be an especially challenging time to stay motivated to exercise, and not just because the weather is colder, snowier and icier. Fewer daylight hours and changes in routine due to the holidays make it easy to get out of the exercise habit. Don’t lose your focus; plow through to warmer weather by following these tips.

  • Team up. It’s harder to ditch your workout when you know someone is waiting for you. Find a friend to exercise with, sign up for a class or make an appointment with a trainer at your local gym to stay on track.
  • Rework your schedule. If cold and darkness deter you from your usual morning workout, try mixing up your schedule. Take an exercise class over your lunch hour or a brisk walk when you get home from work.
  • Dress in layers. Be sure your nose, fingers, ears and hands are well-protected from cold and wet conditions. Dress in layers, starting with a wicking layer that fits snugly against your skin. Add a middle insulating layer and top with a waterproof protective layer to repel the elements.
  • Warm up first. Before heading outside, take five to 10 minutes to do some low-level aerobic exercise, such as jumping rope, climbing stairs or jogging in place, to get your heart beating faster. When you step outside, you’ll already be warm.
  • Stay hydrated. You still sweat when it’s cold but you probably don’t think about hydration as much as you do in the summer. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day, in addition to before, during and after workouts.
  • Take it inside. When the weather is simply too frigid or icy for outdoor exercise, have a contingency plan. Use a stair climber, stationary bike or treadmill for the same amount of time that you would spend running or walking.

Focus on Your Health at RediClinic

Stay motivated in your quest for a healthy lifestyle with comprehensive health screenings to assess your current health status. RediClinic’s board-certified clinicians also provide a broad range of additional preventive services. Make an online appointment and be seen at your convenience, seven days a week!

With summer coming to a close, a new school year in full swing and pleasant weather coming our way, you may have the sudden urge to make a healthy change, whether by stepping up your fitness routine or choosing to eat right. Before you begin t…

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