Sure, cold weather might seem like the perfect excuse for trading an active outdoor lifestyle for a cozy indoor lifestyle of hot chocolate and marshmallows.
It isn’t easy braving the cold when a crackling fire and your favorite blanket are beguiling you to stay in because, baby, it’s cold outside.
Is it any wonder that people gain five to seven pounds on average during the coldest months of the year?
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as taking a winter break from fitness if you want to be healthy.
If you want to stay healthy and fit, you need a consistent year-round health and fitness program.
Cutting yourself some slack during the winter months might seem harmless; besides, what’s a few pounds? But, summer will be here before you know it, and do you really want to be squeezing those rolls of unwanted winter pounds into your favorite bathing suit? Me either. A little bit of discipline now saves a LOT of frustration and regret later.
Staying Fit During Winter – Get Winter Workout Clothes
Workout clothes are about more than making a fashion statement. If you’ll be going for a walk or run during the winter, you need workout gear that protects you from the cold and precipitation.
Although you might think that wearing layers and layers of regular workout clothes will keep you warm, they won’t adequately protect from the wind chill factor. Tight fitting, wicking and wind-resistant clothes are your best bet for staying warm and dry during winter exercise.
You need a base layer that wicks sweat away from your skin and keeps you dry, a mid layer that insulates and keeps you warm, and an outer layer that blocks wind and precipitation. For your head, hands and feet, you’ll need a hat or headband, gloves, socks and weatherproof shoes.
Don’t Skip Your Warm-Up and Cool Down
Please allow enough time to adequately warm up your muscles gradually, making them more flexible and less susceptible to injury. Although you might be in a hurry to get outside and be done with your winter workout, do some light stretching, jumping jacks, and lunges first to get the blood flowing.
Similarly, cool down by doing some post workout stretches because allowing your heart rate and breathing to return to resting levels will keep you from passing out the minute you stop moving and get in your car or plop down on the couch. Cooling down is something we should be doing year round.
While venturing out into the cold is unpleasant at first, your body should generate enough heat to keep you warm as long as you keep moving at a good pace. However, if you stop moving, your body will cool down rapidly, greatly increasing the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.
Please keep in mind that it’s not recommended to exercise outdoors when the wind chill is below -20F. On those days, opt for an indoor workout at the gym or at home.
It’s important to maintain your exercise and training program during the winter months to not lose your progress and momentum. Keep moving to prevent exercise inertia from setting in and sapping your motivation because a body at rest tends to stay a rest.
Don’t let your joints and muscles get rusty this winter – stay active!