It can be challenging to be fully prepared for exercising in cold conditions. Following these tips may help ensure a safe and fun workout in a challenging environment!
1) Dress Appropriately
Layering your clothes becomes very important in protecting your body from the elements. Cover your skin to avoid frostbite and hypothermia. This becomes extremely important when the temperature drops below 30-degrees. Start by wearing a base layer. Find one that will wick away moisture from your skin and aid in keeping you dry. If you are running in temps below 20-25 degrees you may want to consider mittens or lobster gloves which keep your fingers together. This provides extra warmth. Make sure to protect your ears and trap heat in by wearing a stocking cap, an ear-warming band, balaclava, or face mask. TIP: Don’t overdress. Wearing to many layers will heat your body up producing extra sweat making your body increasingly cold. If you’re slightly cool at the beginning of your workout you have probably dressed appropriately.
If you are walking or running outside in snow or ice make sure your shoes have adequate traction. You may want to use a trail shoe that has waterproof features to help keep your feet dry. Wool socks are also great for providing extra warmth. If you don’t have trail shoes you may look at purchasing screws, Yaktrax, Kahtoola NANOspikes, or Wayor Ice Grips for the bottom of your shoes to provide extra traction and grip.
3) Warm up
If going out in the cold temps it is especially important to warm up. If you are going to be getting out the “comfort zone” ie .aerobic zone and doing high intensity type exercise it is particularly important to get your muscles, tendons, and ligaments warmed up. Start with easy jogging and add in some dynamic warm up drills such as arm rotations, high knees, skipping, and bounding to loosen up and promote blood flow to the working areas.
Wearing sunglasses will protect eyes from the bright sun reflecting off of the snow and prevent them from the wind and other elements.
Hydration is often overlooked in the colder months. There can still be a significant amount of sweat loss when exercising in cold temperatures. If wearing layers it is possible to sweat just as much as in warmer temps. If you plan to take fluids with you while out use a sport drink to keep the liquid from freezing.
6) A Cold Weather Alternative
If the cold weather has you wanting to stay indoors—try something new! The AlterG is a great way to get in a quality workout without the added stress to your body. If you typically walk for exercise you may want to add some variety to your plan by incorporating some jogging.