When it comes to exercising in the winter months the dark evenings combined with the cold and rain can really turn you off leaving the house but it is important not to let all that hard work during the summer months go to waste. Maintain your exercise regime with just a few small adjustments and a little thinking ahead…
- Check the weather. A little drizzle is much easier to run in than a full on downpour. Be patient and wait for a bad storm to pass before heading outside.
- Just because it’s raining, doesn’t mean you need to get wet. Wear a water and windproof lightweight raincoat made of breathable material that will keep you dry on the outside and cool on the inside (if it is cold as well as wet layer up).
- Get a pants made of waterproof material that will repel droplets from the sky and splashes from puddles
- Invest in some waterproof footwear to keep you dry, and wear wicking socks with them. Wet feet are more prone to blisters.
- Wear a hat to prevent water from dripping all over your face (baseball hat).
- Make sure your clothes are brightly coloured so cars can see you. Or better yet, wear a headlamp for even greater visibility.
- If you like to listen to music while exercising, make sure your iPod or other device is in a waterproof case, and on a low volume setting.
- Beware of footpaths with large puddles of water next to them oncoming traffic can cause quite a splash and leave you drenched.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Staying properly hydrated is just as important during cold weather as during hot weather. Drink before, during and after your workout, even if you don’t feel very thirsty, as dehydration may be more difficult to notice during cold weather exertion
- Tell someone what route you’re taking, and when to expect your return, just in case something goes wrong. If you slip and fall in the winter, hypothermia can get the better of you if no one knows to go looking for you
- If the rain is just too much there is always the option of a fitness DVD.
While staying warm is important, a common mistake people make is actually dressing too warmly when exercising in cold weather. Remember that exercise will generate body heat and sweating, even though it’s cold outside. And once your sweat starts to accumulate in your clothes, it can have a significantly chilling impact.
Who Should Avoid Cold Weather Exercise?
In cold weather the body draws blood away from the surface of your skin, in toward your vital organs, thus when you are in low temperatures outdoors, your cardiovascular system also tends to respond by increasing blood pressure and heart rate, which can promote a heart attack. Additionally, when you’re cold, your airway tends to narrow, making breathing more difficult.
Therefore, exercising in cold weather may not be ideal if you have any of the following health conditions. If you do, consult with your doctor prior to engaging in cold weather exercise:
- Exercise-induced bronchitis
- Heart condition
- Raynaud’s disease (a condition that limits blood circulation to certain areas of your body, causing them to numb in response to cold temperatures or stress. This may not only make it difficult to determine whether or not you’re getting hypothermic, the reduced blood flow may also increase your risk)
Make Exercise a Non-Negotiable Part of Your Schedule…
Whenever you struggle with your time management, remember that exercise is every bit as important as eating, sleeping and breathing… It should not be viewed as an ancillary part of your day, but rather a necessity. Viewing exercise as a non-negotiable part of your day is really the trick to getting it done. Ideally, schedule it in the way you would an important meeting or social event. Set the time for it and then make no excuses about keeping it.
It is something that you would schedule time for even if you are doing it alone. You certainly need to do this if you had a personal trainer, which is one of the reasons trainers are good as they help you keep your exercise commitment.
Once you get into a routine and exercise becomes a natural part of your day you will find that the more you exercise, the better you’ll feel and the more addictive it will become. Soon you won’t want to miss your exercise sessions because you’ll notice a dip in your energy or stamina when you back off for too long (healthy eating is also necessary).
A high priority must be placed on exercise and eating healthily in your day. Do not use your age as an excuse to avoid exercise, because no matter what your age, exercise can provide enormous benefits for your health. As a matter of fact, if you happen to be over 40, it’s especially important to either start or step up your exercise program. This is the time of life when your physical strength, stamina, balance and flexibility start to decline, and exercise can help to counteract that dramatically.
So get up; get outside; and get going! Regardless of the season, you can exercise outside—or take it indoors if you prefer. The option is yours—the possibilities are just about endless!
Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussion about health, fitness, wellbeing and other related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician or other health care worker.