Warming up to winter exercise

Warming up to winter exercise

Let’s face it, for much of the country, it is hard to find the motivation to exercise outside these days. During the winter months, weather can definitely play a role in why you choose not to be active. Excuses include it is dark when I wake up, and again when I drive home at night, safety concerns — and the obvious — it is cold outside!

For those who will not succumb to these excuses, here are a few things to consider before going outside for a winter workout:

DRESS PROPERLY: It is important to dress in layers when working outside in the winter months. Start with a synthetic layer, which draws sweat away from the body, then add a layer for warmth, think fleece, then add a waterproof outer layer. Wear a face mask or a scarf over your mouth and nose, and a hat and gloves too. About 50 percent of body heat is lost from an uncovered head when temperatures are at the freezing mark. It’s always better to start off too warm and peel off layers if you get overheated. If the natural light is poor, be sure to wear reflective clothing.

STAY HYDRATED: It is important to stay hydrated during cold-weather workouts as the body continues to sweat, but that sweat evaporates more quickly in the cold air. Cold air has a drying effect. Drinking water before, during, and after a cold-weather workout helps you stay hydrated, and helps your body perform at its peak performance!

WEAR SUNSCREEN: Many people think this should only be done in the summer months, but snow reflects the sun’s rays, so sunburn is still possible in the winter months. Be sure to protect your lips, as well, by wearing an SPF lip balm.

TRY SOMETHING NEW: There are many winter activities you can try that will get you active during the cold months. Build a snowman, sledding, ice skating, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, walking, and running are all excellent options.

As hard as it may be to motivate ourselves during the winter months, keep the focus on how great you will feel when your workout is complete! Bundle up! Be safe! Have fun!

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