It may be tough to drag yourself outside to frigid temperatures to exercise in cold winter months with shorter days, but heading outside has many benefits. We recommend keeping up your exercise routine year-round to maintain flexibility, strength and maintain a healthy weight. Not to mention, in North Carolina we have such temperature variations a cold snap might only last a few days at a time, and then we are back to warmer weather again.
Outdoor winter workouts are a great way to take in small doses of sunlight. The sunlight can help to improve mood and help with vitamin D intake, according to the American Heart Association. However, outdoor physical activity increases skin cancer risk, so it is important to protect your skin at all temperatures.
Winter exercise boosts immunity during cold and flu season. A few minutes a day can help prevent simple bacterial and viral infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It will be easier to make yourself go outside if you warm up inside first. Take 5 to 10 minutes and do some low level aerobic exercise like jogging in place, pumping your arms, or doing jumping jacks. If aerobic exercise is too much, we recommend a good stretch routine. This way, when you step outside you’ll already be warm. Dressing properly can also help. Wear layers so that you can remove them as your body temperature increases. In the cold, your body can regulate its temperature a little better. This means you can often exercise farther or longer.
- Avoid tight clothing, which can keep your blood from flowing freely and lead to loss of body heat.
- Wear a waterproof coat or jacket if it’s snowy or rainy.
- Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves.
Don’t forget about hydration, as it’s just as important during cold weather as it is in the heat. Drink water during and after your workout, even if you’re not really thirsty. You can become dehydrated in the cold from sweating, breathing, the drying power of the winter wind and increased urine production, but it may be harder to notice during cold weather.
We hope you keep moving this winter! Feel free to contact us if you would like help with your exercise routine, or if you have sustained an injury we can get you moving again in no time.