It’s normal for workout motivation and training days to fall off the radar a bit as winter days approach. Whether you find yourself in the dark with shorter days, facing a cold front, endless gray days filled with rain, or busy times during holidays, it's common for training time to hit the back burner.
While I want to give you some tips for making the most of your time outdoors, I also want to offer a gentle reminder that life rolls in seasons.
If you find this time of life to be rooted deep in other areas, don't sit in guilt or shame if you aren't logging your 'normal' workouts. It's important to remember your health, "fitness," and overall wellness should be focused on enjoyment. So say, "buh-bye" to the added stress of getting your workouts in - life is too short for that, friends.
This may be an excellent time to shift gears. Instead of falling out of routine completely, make a plan to stay in the game and work out safely as the temps and weather change.
10 Tips for Winter Workouts:
#1 Warm-up - cold bodies are more prone to injury, so don’t forget to warm up! It's also important to note you don't need to overthink this. There are numerous "warm-up" videos you can find by searching YouTube. You can also simplify your warm-up by spending a few minutes moving your body, mimicking the actions/ movements you'll be doing during your chosen exercise or activity.
#2 Dress in layers - temps can quickly change this time of year. Use layers to stay comfortable outdoors. Sometimes you need to take a layer or two off, and sometimes you may need to add them back on. Assess the weather conditions, and layer up appropriately.
#3 Cover up - don’t forget about ears and hands. It's easy to think about our main outer layers but overlook things like fingers, toes, ears, noses, etc. Keep your parts covered up and up the enjoyment of those cold winter days outside.
#4 Avoid cotton - this layer will trap sweat and bring your core temp down into the danger zone. Reach for layers that will help you retain heat and wick sweat away from your body. Wool, synthetic blends, or down can be good choices.
#5 Watch for the signs - hypothermia and frostbite can sneak up on you. Pay attention to numbness, tingling, or burning. Seek medical help when needed! Prolonged exposure can be a dangerous game in the winter months. Plan your excursions appropriately.
#6 Use a headlamp - if you find yourself on the run, before or after sunset, a good headlamp is a must! This is especially important in areas with shorter days. If you have a small adventure pack or fanny pack, you may want to throw a headlamp in.
#7 Wear reflective layers - another essential item if you are logging miles in the dark. Make sure you are safe and seen. Not only are the days shorter, but the darker days can make it harder for drivers to see you. Stay visible!
#8 Use sunscreen - cold temps can fool you. Protect your skin year-round with sunscreen on exposed skin. It's a safe bet that sunscreen is the right call if you find yourself outside. Even with overcast days, and the sun farther away in the sky, UV rays can cause damage.
#9 Watch your footing - surfaces can get slippery this time of year, so watch for icy spots when you’re out and about. Depending on where you live and what conditions you find yourself in, you may want to add micro spikes or running traction gear to your next outdoor treks.
#10 Stay hydrated - becoming dehydrated is easy to do in cold weather. Keep sipping and make sure your fluids don’t freeze. Drinking cold beverages when the temperature drop isn't always easy. Feel free to drink your beverages hot or warm- just don't forget to drink up!
Although all of these tips are important, be sure to pay close attention to life-threatening conditions such as hypothermia and dehydration. These have been known to sneak up unexpectedly. Keeping fluids like Hydrate & Recover near you or tucked within your layers should keep them from freezing, but be sure to drink them too. Thirst decreases in frigid temps, but your need for hydration does not. Hydrate & Recover is my favorite hot drink to warm up and kick-start my recovery.
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Winter can also be an excellent time to get off the workout hamster wheel. Get out and try something new. Cross-country skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowy hikes, and even trudging around in the great outdoors can be a fun way to change things up!
Before we know it, we will be wondering how spring has already arrived so, work hard, have fun, and enjoy the pace of the holiday season!