Getting outdoors during the harsh winter months isn’t nearly as bad as some people think. In fact, when properly prepared, it should be a great experience.
It is cold out, winter months it gets darker earlier and when the mercury dips often times so does our motivation to get outside and hit it. So what can we all do to prepare for the colder months and still be able to get outside and get our workouts in.
1) Prepare, prepare and then prepare some more. Know what the weather is going to present to you. Just because it is the winter months doesn’t mean that every single day is going to be bone chilling cold. Know what the elements are going to be like before you actually leave the house.
2) Dress in layers. Just because it is cold outside, doesn’t mean your body isn’t going to work hard and sweat. For temps above 40 degrees, there really doesn’t need to be anything additional you will need. Maybe you can ditch the shorts and run with some sweats on or a hoodie, but beyond that, you can pretty much get out there like normal. When it is gets below 40 degree’s, now might be a good time to bundle up a bit. Hat, gloves and layers. At almost every sports store in the northern climates you will find that companies are producing clothes that are specially made for cold weather running/working out. Under Armor makes some fantastic cold weather gear. It can get a bit pricey, but it is not super bad. These cold weather clothes are generally quite snug to your body so you want to make sure that everything fits properly before you buy it. It should be snug but not overly tight. Putting on a base layer, and then loose clothing over that base layer will absolutely keep you warm. Remember that you are going to be getting active out there and the biggest concern that makes us cold is getting sweaty. This base layer will help whick that sweat away and keep you warm.
3) Those little heating packs. I tend to put them in my gloves to stay warm. For me, my single greatest issue with going outdoors in the cold is my fingers. They numb up pretty bad. So I buy a box of those heating packets at the hunting store and I am good from there on out.
4) Hydrate. Just because it is cold out doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t be hydrating. In fact, many cases of dehydration occur in the winter months because people mistakenly believe that they don’t need to hydrate. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You are still going to sweat and your body is going to heat up as you get more active. So make sure you hydrate.
5) Limit your exposure. I recommend depending on the temp’s to limit your outdoor time to no more than 90 minutes per session. If it REALLY cold, knock it back to an hour. If you follow the layer advice from up above, you won’t really even notice it anyways.
6) Sunglasses are essential after the first snow and when the sun is shining. The glare off the snow can be absolutely blinding. Other items that can come in useful is a scarf (you can wrap this around your face if you need to), ski mask..I know your all thinking bank robbery here but a ski mask is a great way to keep your face warm especially when faced with a good stiff wind.
7) Go a little slower than normal. When you are out there, especially if you are out there running…know the conditions of the road or trail you are running on. If there is snow or ice, take it slower than normal.
Getting acclimated to the cold is just as hard as getting acclimated to the heat. That said, don’t let the cold weather prevent you from getting out there and doing what you love to do.
To learn more about working out in the colder weather here is a pretty decent link http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fitness/HQ01681