Good for both your mind and body, getting daily exercise is necessary if you want to stay fit and healthy. While both indoor and outdoor exercise is essential, exercising outdoors comes with additional benefits. Getting outdoors allows us to connect with nature, get some much-needed vitamin D (if the sun is out), and allows us a temporary break from our daily lives. Exercising outdoors when the weather is beautiful is easy. Nonetheless, following that pattern into the winter can be difficult. If done correctly, outdoor fitness can become your daily habit if the proper precautions are followed. Cold weather exercise can help ward off the dreaded winter blues, prevent weight gain, and even boost your energy when all you want to do is hibernate. However, if you wish to exercise safely in the cold, following cold-weather exercise tips is necessary if you’re going to stay warm and safe.
Getting your body moving daily is essential, but when it’s cold outside, it’s hard to get out from under the covers, let alone go outside to exercise. However, if you follow these helpful cold-weather exercise tips, you can stay warm and injury-free while you are out in the cold.
Layers, Lots of Layers– You don’t want to go outside only with one base layer. Instead, you want to layer up, which can help trap warm air and keep out the elements. Start with a base layer made from synthetic fabrics to help keep you warm and dry while exercising, and then go from there. However, it is essential to note that if you are planning on wearing a heavy-weight jacket that is water-repellent, the more repellent the coat is, it means the less likely it will allow moisture to escape. So plan accordingly and adjust what you wear to match the conditions outside.
Avoid Cotton Activewear– Clothes that are made from cotton can hold in moisture, which is the last thing you want when you are trying to stay warm outdoors. If you have wet fabric against your skin while outside in the cold weather, you will lose body heat and get the chills, so make sure you avoid cotton. Instead, opt for activewear made from synthetic fibers such as polypropylene, polyester, and nylon. These synthetic fibers are designed to dry quickly, which can help you stay warm and dry in the cold, even while sweating.
Cover Your Extremities– Your hands, head, and feet are usually the first to get cold, so make sure you cover them up if you are exercising outdoors in chilly temperatures. Most of your blood is moved to the core of the body, so that leaves less blood for your extremities, and less blood equals less heat. To help keep them warm, make sure you cover them up by wearing gloves, thick wool or synthetic socks, and a hat (or at least something to keep your ears warm).
Protect Your Skin– You may not realize this, but you can get sunburned in the winter. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, snow can reflect up to 80 percent of UV rays, and UV exposure increases 4 to 5 percent for every 1,000 feet of elevation. So even during the winter months, your skin is not spared from the sun, so protect it by applying sunscreen before you head out for your winter workout. Also, winter air is dry, so make sure you protect your skin from dryness by moisturizing and drinking plenty of water daily.