Keeping your motivation alive to exercise in the winter can be hard – especially if you live in the northern hemisphere where daylight hours have many of us arriving and leaving work in the freezing, cold dark. It’s so easy to stay tucked under a blanket for as long as you possibly can!
But here you are still going strong and reaping the benefits of improved immunity, mood, and overall health from your exercise routine! Except, maybe you’re starting to feel like you need to switch it up. Maybe the once sweet smell of sweaty, treadmill victory has started to get stale. The lack of sunlight on your skin is making you feel a bit mole-like.
You know what your mom would say – you need to GET OUTSIDE!
There are so many benefits to exercising outdoors in the winter cold! Outside air is generally healthier than that of the great indoors. Heading outside for your workout can immediately provide the body with fresh oxygen and relief from indoor germs. Cold weather also makes the heart work harder which, for an active, regular exerciser, trains the heart to better withstand stress*. And you’ll quickly feel happier and more energized because you’ll be soaking up an extra dose of vitamin D and vitamin N – Nature!
Get Out There – Winter Exercise Tips
Undoubtedly, one of the benefits of working out in winter air is you don’t get so sticky and hot. For some people, cold temperatures are just that much better than steamy, warm sensations so being in cold winter weather is a great relief! Even if you’re so excited to get out there, don’t skip these steps:
Warm up thoroughly before heading out. You probably know that cold ligaments, tendons, and muscles are more susceptible to injury. Warm up the major muscle groups quickly with a total-body dynamic movement such as marching, stair climbing, jumping jacks, burpees, or sun salutations. Pay special attention as well to your stiffest and most underused joints and muscles. Wrists, ankles, hips, and neck can all be vulnerable in a slip or fall, so add some light stretching or strength-building reps. You will be alert and aware of your whole body when you’re done.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Dry indoor air, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages such as coffee or sports drinks can deplete your system of essential H2O. When you go outside and the body sweats, the moisture on your skin evaporates more quickly, making it seem as though it’s not even happening. Even though it’s cold and you may not feel thirsty, consume water or decaffeinated tea before, during, and after a workout.
Gear Up with Proper Winter Workout Clothes
You may be tempted to stuff yourself into one, giant layer of marshmallow-y snowsuit to protect you from the elements if you are normally shy of the cold, but don’t forget that once you get out there, two things are guaranteed 1) Once you get going, you’re going to be WARM – that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? And 2) it’s the same distance back as it is going out. Don’t get stuck in a situation where your winter workout gear becomes your biggest discomfort.
Opt for several layers of light, loose, and moisture-wicking clothing for warmth, topped with an outer shell of waterproof protection. This will allow you to accommodate your body’s constantly changing temperature. Choose footwear that provides warmth, dryness, and stability in the ankles and treads. And don’t forget: the sun will fade early and quickly. If you’re working out close to sunset, make sure to bring additional, reflective outer layers, and a flashlight if needed.
Taking out the kids, too? Because they have smaller bodies, babies and children are at a greater risk of cold injuries. Layering their clothing and making sure they have waterproof gloves and a hat over their ears is very important. Check children frequently for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
When you’re looking for workouts to do in the snow, winter fitness options sure don’t end with hiking, walking, or running. Skating, sledding, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing – all are spectacular sporting selections!
But, be careful. The British Journal of Sports Medicine recently determined the Winter Olympics are more dangerous than the Summer Olympics1. The reason: winter sports tend to be faster and athletes tend to fly through the air a lot more. Not only that, but winter weather conditions can be unpredictable putting the enthusiast at risk of unknown and unexpected dangers such as extreme wind, freezing, or melting. Beginners are especially at risk so be sure to take a lesson, or several, with an experienced instructor who can show you how to fall correctly and properly assess weather conditions before you head out.
Don’t despair, many injuries can easily be prevented by being in good physical condition, staying alert, and stopping when you get tired or are in pain.
Cool Down & Recover
One way to recover after a long, winter workout is by getting a massage. Find a sports massage therapist who is familiar with pre-event massage, post-event recovery massage, and injury massage. It could be just what you need to keep that winter fitness momentum going well into spring!
Supplement for anti-inflammation and better recovery!
CurcuminRich™ Muscle Recovery & Growth Optimizer is a highly absorbable formula for muscle recovery and growth that combines Theracurmin® Curcumin (the most bioavailable form of curcumin available‡) with Micronized L-Glutamine. Together, they work to support the body’s recovery from physical stress by exerting powerful antioxidant activity and supporting a healthy inflammatory response. Muscle cell repair and growth are encouraged, especially following strenuous exercise, and immune and digestive system health are supported to help protect against infections following prolonged or intense exercise.
This flavourless powdered drink mix makes a convenient post-exercise recovery aid and is ideal for anyone looking to accelerate muscle recovery and growth naturally. It dissolves instantly in juice, water, or other favourite beverages – no blender required. Simply mix in 1–2 cups of water immediately before drinking.
* You should consult your physician or other health care practitioner before starting this or any other fitness program.
‡ Scientific scrutiny revealed that Theracurmin was more bioavailable on a milligram-to-milligram basis than other leading* enhanced and regular forms of curcumin.
*As measured by SPINS 2014 data.
- Young L, Dr. Meeuwisse W et al. British Journal of Sports finds winter athletes tend to be hurt more badly: Meeuwisse. [Internet]. 2018 Jan 27 [cited 2018 Feb 5]; Available from: https://globalnews.ca/news/3989706/most-dangerous-winter-olympic-sports/