Ways to Stay Active in the Winter
As the cold temperatures in Dallas have proven they are here to stay for a while, staying active during the winter is still important, whether you choose the indoors or brave the cold and venture outside.
Don’t let the colder temperatures be a damper; your outdoor running routine does not need to be put on the back burner if working outside if your preference. Braving the chill can not only alleviate the winter blues but also boost your energy levels, preparing you to be in prime shape for the upcoming spring and summer months.
OUTDOOR WINTER ACTIVITIES
- Walking or hiking
- Jogging or running
- Raking leaves
- Shoveling snow (check out this blog on PTandMe for Snow Shoveling Safety Tips)
BENEFITS OF STAYING ACTIVE IN THE WINTER
Enhanced Caloric Burn
Exercising in the winter may boost calorie expenditure as the body works harder to regulate its temperature in colder conditions.
Cold-weather workouts have been linked to an increase in mood-boosting endorphins, helping alleviate winter blues.
Winter exercise provides an opportunity to soak in sunlight, even in small doses. Exposure to sunlight is known to improve one’s mood and contribute to the body’s production of vitamin D.
Immune System Support
Being active, even for just a few minutes each day, is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a means to boost immunity during the cold and flu season.
To ensure a safe and comfortable cold-weather workout, follow our cold-weather exercise tips!
Exercise tips for winter
Dress in Layers
Layering is essential for winter workouts. Layering clothing helps regulate body temperature, keeping you warm at the start and allowing you to adjust as your body heats up throughout your workout.
Start with a thin layer of synthetic material like polypropylene to wick away sweat. Avoid cotton, as it retains moisture. In even colder conditions, add a middle layer, such as polar fleece, for enhanced insulation.
Protect Your Hands and Feet
Recognize that up to 30% of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet. Prevent heat loss by wearing appropriate gear for your hands and feet, as they are significant sources of body heat loss and will help maintain warmth and comfort during your run.
Even in colder weather, staying hydrated is crucial. Sweating still occurs, and the dry air can contribute to dehydration. Be sure to drink water or a sports drink before, during, and after your workout to maintain optimal hydration levels.
Begin with a thorough warm-up to prepare your muscles for the cold conditions. Given that cold weather increases the risk of muscle strains, incorporate stretching and maintain a moderate pace to enhance blood flow and flexibility.
Monitor Wind Chill
You should factor in wind chill when planning your workout outdoors. Wind can make the temperature feel colder. If the temperature drops below zero Fahrenheit or the wind chill falls below -20F, it might be time to trade the outdoor trail for the warmth of the treadmill.
Winter sun can still cause sunburn. Apply sunscreen and protect your lips with lip balm to shield yourself from the sun’s rays. lip balm to shield yourself from the winter sun.
Run in the Wind
Whenever possible, start your run into the wind. This way, on your return, the wind will be at your back, minimizing the risk of catching a chill when you’re sweaty.
Cool Down Properly
Finish your outdoor workout with a proper cool-down to gradually lower your heart rate and prevent muscle stiffness.
If outdoor workouts aren’t your thing, no need to worry. Staying active is still entirely achievable.
This is the time to embrace indoor activities such as yoga, Pilates, or home workouts to keep your body moving. Many fitness apps and online platforms offer guided sessions that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine.
INDOOR WINTER ACTIVITIES
- Home workout classes
- Stair Climbing
- Housework such as vacuuming or sweeping
- Walking through the mall
- Roller Skating
Joining a local gym or fitness class provides a social aspect to your winter workouts, motivating you to stay active in a supportive community. Alternatively, indoor sports like basketball, racquetball, or swimming offer excellent options to stay fit while escaping the winter chill. Rember to listen to your body to avoid overexertion. By incorporating a variety of activities, you can make staying active during the winter enjoyable and beneficial for your physical and mental health.