Q. Brr! It’s that time of year again. I like to add in a couple of days per week where I take power walks outdoors. It is nice to be outside in nature, and we don’t live where we get snow, which makes it easier. However, I wonder if there is anything I need to do differently when exercising in the cold. I appreciate your input on this issue.
A. Welcome to winter! Getting outdoors for some of your workouts is a great way to break things up, as well as to gain the many benefits that come from being out in nature. You mentioned that you don’t live where there is snow, so that makes it even easier to continue getting outdoors as it gets colder.
There are many people that jog, walk, and bike ride outdoors in the winter, among other activities. There are a few things you may want to keep in mind when it comes to exercising in the cold, including:
- Dress in layers. You may start out the door and it’s cold, but after you get moving you will probably warm up. Try to dress in a couple of layers, so that if you do warm up and need to cool off, you can peel a layer off and carry it with you.
- Listen to your body. If you feel really cold and it is not comfortable, it may be time to take your workout indoors. Pay attention to how your body feels.
- Warm up. Just like when you work out indoors, it is important to warm up before you get started. Your muscles need to get warmed up in order to perform optimally and help protect yourself from injury. You may even want to warm up while you are still in the house. That way the colder weather is not a shock to you and possibly make it more challenging to get warmed up.
- Know when to rest. During the winter months people often have more colds and don’t feel as well. If you have a day where you don’t feel well, take the day rest and move your work out to another day.
It may be getting colder outside, but if you enjoy getting outdoors for some of your workouts, then don’t let the cold stop you. As long as you don’t have freezing temperatures, you should be able to layer up, put some gloves and a hat on, and head outside.