Working out in cold weather also has its advantages. During the winter months many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression brought on by the shorter, darker days. Getting out into the fresh air and sunlight will counteract this condition.
However, cold weather workouts require some advance planning.
Plan Your Route
Roads and sidewalks can become slippery and even impassable during cold weather so it is advantageous to plan a safe route before you step outside. Pick a route that is close to home just in case the weather turns, you get tired or sustain an injury. This way, no matter what happens you can get home quickly.
It goes without saying that cold muscles are more prone to injury and that risk is increased during cold weather. Before you head outside, spend 10 to 15 minutes warming up. Run in place or do some yoga-style stretching to get your heart rate up and muscles loose.
Once you begin your workout, take a quick break every few minutes to acclimate yourself to the cold weather. Do this for the first 10-12 minutes and then continue your workout as usual.
Begin your cold weather workout by doing a fraction of your summer workouts. For instance, if you run four miles in warm weather, start out with just two miles when the weather turns cold. Easing into your routine will also help your airways get used to the cold air.
During the cold months, the weather can be a little unpredictable so it’s smart to be prepared. Wear long sleeve tops and workout pants. Gloves and a cap (or beanie) are also recommended. Plan your route along treelined paths or between tall buildings. This will help shield you from high winds.
You will sweat just as much in cold weather as you do in warm weather. It may not seem like it at times because you really cannot gauge the amount that you are sweating. Because of this, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated. There are plenty of water packs and belts that you can wear under your clothes to make sure it doesn’t freeze in extremely cold weather.
If you would rather stay indoors, but still want a variety of exercises, head over to the Downtown Athletic Club. Take advantage of our personal training, group exercise or just do your own thing.