Let’s get real — Cold weather months can bring upon a lack of motivation. Increased darkness and decreased temps can make it tough to get up & at ‘em for your workouts. Gyms tend to get busier and who wants to deal with waiting in line for a cardio machine or squat rack? Instead of confining yourself to the walls of the gym, get outside and active during these cold weather months!
Pull yourself away from your cozy couch, follow these tips + reap the benefits of cold weather workouts
Increased Calorie Burn
When it’s cold, our bodies have to work a little harder to regulate our body temperature. The individual’s body mass and the severity of the weather can influence how much more you will actually burn but every little bit helps (especially with all the food-centered holidays around the corner).
TIP: Layer up! You will generate a lot of heat when you exercise but you want to have the layers ready for the post-workout sweat and cool-down. First layer should consist of a moisture-wicking fabric, second layer should be some sort of insulating fabric such as fleece. If you need a third layer, make is a waterproof, breathable fabric.
If you are focusing on cardiovascular endurance and strengthening your heart, you can thrive in these cold weather months. Our hearts have to pump a little harder for blood flow when it’s colder outside. Overtime time, this can strengthen the heart muscles. WHePlease note – there is also a higher risk for heart attack during the cold weather months for the same reason. If you have not been working out previously, please use caution when doing outdoor workouts/activities when it is cold outside.
TIP: Avoid sudden exertion. Make sure to warm up and cool down properly. Pay attention to your body. Take more rest as needed. If you have not been physically active, start small. A simple walk around your neighborhood can do wonders for strengthening those heart muscles.
Tolerance to the Weather
That first cold weather workout may be tough for you, but it gets easier and your body will get acclimated. It will even make normal outdoor activities more bearable + enjoyable when it’s cold!
TIP: Adjust your expectations for your workout. Pay attention to your effort level rather than your duration. You shouldn’t compare your duration/distance of your cold weather workouts to warm weather workouts — be fair to yourself.
Dose of Vitamin D
Even though the temperatures are lower, the sun will maintain its benefits. Vitamin D is beneficial for our immune and nervous systems and can help with lung function + cardiovascular health.
TIP: Wear sunscreen. Even though it’s cold, prolonged sun exposure can still bring some risks. Yes, those rays will still get to you through the cloudiness of gray skies. If you plan on being outside for more than 10 minutes, go ahead and and put a layer of sunscreen on your face.
Seasonal depression is real but getting outside with fresh, crisp air (goodbye humidity) can help to boost your mood. Endorphins (feel good hormone) are released when we workout and those endorphins are increased when we complete exercises in chilly air.
TIP: Stay hydrated. You can get dehydrated just as much in cold weather as you can in hot weather. Drink water before, during and after your workout. To avoid excessive fluid calorie consumption avoid sodas, juices and sweetened holiday beverages. Electrolyte replenishment is needed if you do strenuous activity for 2 hours or more.