Cold temperatures can discourage even the most dedicated fitness enthusiast from heading outside. Don’t let the colder weather ruin all of the progress that you’ve made this year. Practice these safe ways to exercise outside this winter to keep you warm, healthy, and on-track all season long!
While almost anyone can workout in the colder weather, it’s important for you to check with your doctor if you have an illness or sensitivity to the cold that may be made worse by heading outside. We want you to have fun, but we also want you to be safe! With that being said, here are 8 of our best winter safety tips!
Winter Safety Tips
1. Wear Layers!
There are two ways to look at this. The first is more obvious… wearing layers will keep you warmer. Second, it will also allow you to remove one or two layers if you begin to sweat. You’ll want to avoid sweating to stay warm. You can also put a layer back on if it gets too cold.
It is recommended that you wear a thin layer of synthetic material closest to your skin, which will help draw sweat away from the body, keeping your core temperature up. The second layer should be fleece or wool for insulation. Keep in mind that if you are lean, you should add in another insulating layer. On top, you should have a breathable, waterproof layer. Everyone knows that getting wet in the cold air only makes things worse. It’s also a good idea to have a wind resistant layer available if it’s a windy day.
2. Protect Your Head, Ears, Hands and Feet.
Your extremities are much more vulnerable to frostbite than your core is. This is due to the fact that blood flow is concentrated in your core, leaving your head, ears, hands, and feet exposed. For this reason, you need to take extra care to protect these body parts.
Wear a hat, or better yet, a beanie to protect your head. You can wear a headband that covers your ears or ear muffs to really ensure they stay warm. When it comes to choosing gloves, you’ll definitely want to choose ones that are sweat-wicking, insulated, and waterproof. Last, but certainly not least, you’ll want to get a good pair of socks that are both insulating, yet breathable, so your feet don’t sweat!
3. Avoid Stop & Go Activities.
Workouts like sprinting and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) can cause you to sweat and cool down, repeatedly. This can decrease your core temperature and allow hypothermia to set in. Your best option is to perform an exercise that will keep your temperature up like jogging or running.
4. Buy Shoes that are Slightly Too Big (with Good Traction).
Why should you buy slightly larger shoes for the Winter? Well, it comes back to your socks again. If your socks are extra insulating, it’s very possible that you’ll need a little extra room in your shoe. You should especially have a little extra room in what is called the toe box, if you’re a runner. As you run, your foot swells slightly. If your shoes are too tight to begin with, you’re going to end up with decreased blood flow, cold toes, and achy feet. You should also be sure to choose shoes with good traction. This is obviously extremely important on the ice and snow, especially if you’re running.
5. Don’t Forget Lip Balm, Sunscreen and Sunglasses (or Goggles).
When we think about Winter time, colder temperatures, and snow, sunscreen is the last thing on our mind. You’d be amazed at how burned your nose and cheeks can get in the winter time, though. When your skin is cold, it’s more difficult to notice when you’re getting burned. Your lips also get more chapped in the cold, windy weather and are at a greater risk of burning. Put on sunscreen and lip balm with sunscreen in it right before your winter workout and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Sunglasses or snow-goggles, while skiing or snowboarding, are incredibly important to protecting your eyes. The sun shining on the white snow can easily burn your eyes. This is called snow-blindness, and it is no fun whatsoever. Protect your eyes this winter!
6. Wear a Helmet When Skiing and Snowboarding.
If you’re into winter sports, like skiing and snowboarding, it is highly recommended that you protect your noggin’ with a helmet, no matter how experienced you are. Beginners have a tendency to fall a lot and advanced skiers and snowboarders travel down the mountain at a high rate of speed. Regardless of how good you are, play it safe and wear a helmet!
The cold weather also makes it harder to notice when you’re dehydrated. A combination of breathing, sweating, and the cold air itself, during an outdoor workout can cause you to become dehydrated surprisingly fast. Your best bet is to drink a full glass of water or sports drink before you go out, and continue drinking periodically throughout your workout even if you don’t feel thirsty.
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8. Share Your Route and the Time You Should be Back.
This is perhaps one of the most important rules when you’re planning on working out outside this winter. If you’re going for a hike, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, or any other related activity, it is absolutely imperative that you let someone know where you are going and around what time you will be back. Snow and winter conditions can be extremely unpredictable and change at the drop of a hat. We recommend staying home if bad weather is in the forecast, but if you insist on going, at the very least, follow this rule!
These tips will allow you to safely enjoy the outdoors this Winter. Of course, everyone is different, so it’s important that you listen to your body. If you can’t warm up, don’t push it. Go inside and try one of these awesome indoor workouts, instead!
Do you have any special winter time workout tips to share? Let us know in the comment section below!
Stay safe! 🙂