After the initial novelty of it wears off, nobody really likes the cold, especially if you are being forced into it. And if we are being honest, nobody really likes being forced to exercise. So when you are forced to combine those things, it takes a great deal of willpower just to motivate yourself to lace up your sneakers and get out the door.
Not everyone has that strength to do that which is why a lot of people gain undesirable weight during the winter and make annual resolutions for the new year.
Exercising outdoors can be beneficial for your body. The crisp air can keep your energy from draining as quickly as it does during steamy summers keeping you fresher through your workout and the fresh air will help your circulatory system exhale carbon dioxide and other toxins more efficiently. You will however have to take a few extra precautions to protect you from injury and other harm that can come from exposure to lower temperatures.
So here are a few tips to help make your outdoors exercise time more tolerable so that you can keep up with your workout regimen when the thermometer drops:
Cover Your Head and Hands:
Most of your body’s heat is lost on a cold day through the outermost extremities so it is essential to keep your head and your hands warm. If these parts of your body are exposed, it is going to cause the rest of your body to feel much colder than it actually is. There are gloves specially designed to protect your hands from the elements while enabling you to keep your dexterity in your fingers and maintain grip when performing such tasks as riding a bike outdoors while still keeping your hands warm. For your head, even a simple baseball hat can help provide a layer of insulating protection although a beanie-style hat is a better choice if the temperatures are near or below freezing temperatures.
Go with Multiple Layers:
Wearing multiple layers of clothing can be your friend while exercising outdoors. While wearing a single, large jacket over your workout clothes might seem like the obvious solution to staying warm, in can often be bulky and uncomfortable to maintain a range of motions in. A better solution is to use several thinner layers of clothing that create multiple barriers from the cold and that you can easily shed as you start to warm up. An example of this would be wearing a thin hooded sweatshirt over a long-sleeved shirt or sweater which is worn over your workout shirt. As you get warmer during your walk or hike you can then remove each layer to better regulate your body’s temperature.
Choose Socks Wisely:
As we mentioned above, your extremities are the most prone to becoming exposed to the temperature difference and your feet are no different. Not all socks are created equal and what may work for you in the summertime may not provide adequate protection in colder weather. The type of socks you choose are important. When walking on cold ground, your feet will absorb the freezing temperatures. Thick socks can keep your feet warm no matter the weather.
Be sure you bring your athletic shoes with you when trying on moisture-wicking workout socks so that your shoes fit over them comfortably.
Although you may not be pouring sweat like you might have been in the hotter climes, your body can still lose a great deal of liquid by sweating and through aspiration. Staying hydrated is just as important when you are exercising outside in January as it is in July. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. It might be tempting to fill it with warm liquid, a cold drink is actually more beneficial when it comes to maintaining your internal body temperature, helping you to handle the colder temperatures better and burning more calories as your body works to warm up the liquid once it is ingested.