The cold never
bothered me anyway…who says that!?
Well, are you tired
of being stuck inside and feeling like you‘re on a hamster wheel every time you
step on a treadmill? If the cold really doesn’t bother you, then maybe it’s
time to think about doing a workout outside in the cold! There are many studies
associated with the benefits working out in cold weather, but I will be
discussing how you can workout safely in the cold!
Getting ready to weather the weather!
Before you just head
outside, there are some measures to take before working out in the cold.
#1: Drink Water: It is essential that you are
adequately hydrated prior to and during
your cold weather exercise. Exercising in the cold can decrease
your sensation of thirst by as much as 40% compared to exercising in warmer
weather, but your body needs to stay hydrated just as much! Lower hydration
during cold weather exercising can constrict your blood vessels, which can decrease
blood flow to your extremities. So continue to drink water even if you are
#2: Proper Cold Weather Attire: Making sure you
have the proper attire for cold weather exercise is important for your safety
and effectiveness of your workout! Having too few or too many layers can affect
your workout negatively. There are few things you should consider when picking
your attire for cold weather. You’ll come to find that layers
are the way to go!
- Base Layer: The first layer you should consider
wearing in cold weather should be a lightweight material that is moisture
wicking like polyester or polypropylene. This will help draw sweat away from
your body when you begin to sweat, and will help the sweat evaporate through
the top layers.
- Insulating Layer: This layer is the layer that
will ensure you stay warm/comfortable during your exercise endeavors in the
cold. You will want to consider wear an insulating material such as wool or
fleece to help keep warmth in. Avoid
using cotton as an insulating layer. Unlike wool and fleece, cotton starts
to lose its insulating abilities when it gets wet.
-Make sure you are wearing adequate gear for your hands, feet, and head.
extremities are more susceptible to frostbite because they are farther away
from the heart, and blood flow will prioritize vital organs first!
- Outer Layer: This is the layer that will help
protect you from the elements. I would recommend wearing a breathable wind/rain
repelling layer for your outer layer. This will ensure that moisture does not
build up when you begin to sweat, and will also help break the wind and repel
rain! I would suggest this layer to be easily removable if you begin to
overheat, and also easy to put back on if your body begins to cool down!
- Sunscreen: Yes, I know
it might sound weird to have sunscreen on a list of proper cold weather attire,
but I have to state its importance! When we get those nice sunny days during
winter, it can be a great opportunity to get some Vitamin D
and a great opportunity to exercise outside. That being said, the sun’s UV rays
are just as harmful when it is cold out! So do yourself a favor and protect
your skin when you’re out in the sun! (your future self will thank you for it)
that we have our gear prepared for the cold, let’s go over a few things before
we start exercising.
#3: Know the Conditions: To safely exercise
outside in the cold you must first know the conditions in which you are
- How Cold is Too Cold?: Yes, I know this whole
thing is about how to safely exercise in the cold, but sometimes we have to
know how cold is too cold when it comes to exercising outside. The risk for hypothermia
increase as temperature decreases especially below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, or if
wind chills are -17 degrees Fahrenheit. Frostbite can develop on exposed skin
with as little as 30 minutes of exposure at wind chills of -19! So keep in mind
the temperature before heading out! It's also important to know
of frostbite, in order to keep yourself safe.
- Watch for Ice: According to the CDC, about 1
million people suffer injuries
from slipping on ice. Take caution when you are outside exercising and
watch for ice! The last thing you need is slipping on a sheet of ice, getting
injured, and not being able to exercise at all! If the weather/surface
conditions are not ideal, it is best to take your workout inside for the day.
The outside can wait one more day!
#4: Warm Up: I’m sure you have heard your trainer
or exercise professional to warm-up prior to exercising, and that is especially
true when exercising in cold weather! Colder temperatures make everything
shrink/contract, and that includes your muscles! Taking the proper precautions
stretching prior to exercising in the cold will help decrease the chances
of injuring a muscle during exercise. Take your time and don’t rush into your
that we have gone over what to do to ensure a safe and effective workout in the
cold, you can now do your best impersonation of your favorite winter character
and start your cold weather endeavor! Once you get going and warmed up, I guess
the saying was right; the cold never bothered you anyway!