What Are the Best Workouts for Cold Weather
There are a lot of different opinions out there about the best workouts for cold weather.
Some people believe that it is better to work out indoors, while others say you should be outside in order to get your blood flowing and stay warm.
There are several factors to take into consideration, like what type of workout you're doing (a high-intensity cardio workout will leave you feeling colder than an easy jog), how much time you have before or after exercising to change clothes and dry off, and whether or not you live in a place where it snows!
In this article we'll explore some common questions around working out when it's cold outside as well as offer some specific suggestions based on those questions.
Get the correct gear
When it comes to doing anything outdoors in the winter, the most critical thing is to make sure you're properly dressed. You'll want clothing that fits both you and the activity correctly for whatever you're doing, and you'll want to be sure you're ready for the chilly air.
Consider layers that may be removed and added back later, allowing you to more comfortably — and safely — balance rising body temperatures with the cold air temperatures for more active activities like running, hiking, or cross-country skiing.
The closest layer to your skin should be of a thin, moisture-wicking nature; materials such as lightweight polyester allows the skin to breathe more easily and for any moisture to move through each layer to the outside.
Your second layer should act as "insulation" - essentially designed to keep you warm but not waterproof - as this is where layer three comes in.
This layer is your effectively "overcoat" an is to protect your body from the real elements (wind, rain and snow) and should only be used as such. This layer, when worn during exercise, can trap sweat and prevent proper evaporation of any water/sweat. You may always replace the top layer when outdoors for rest periods.
Custom caps and winter headwear are also available designed on the same principle of sweat-wicking whilst retaining heat. Wearing gloves will protect your hands and fingers, too. If you're going for a long walk in cold weather, consider wearing gloves with a liner or two beneath them - again, layers can be removed based on the weather conditions.
The right footwear
Wearing the right footwear is one of the best ways to help yourself enjoy exercising in cold weather.
If you are going for a run, pick up some athletic shoes that have an aggressive tread pattern on them; this is designed to give you better grip when running over snow & ice covered roads or pavements.
Walking or hiking will of course require similar footwear, but you can also pick up some waterproof boots for this purpose too.
Most people head straight to the nearest sports shop when they want new shoes; while it is true that staff there will be able to recommend footwear suited to your needs, don't forget that specialist outdoor shops offer a much wider range of options - not only with regards running shoes (and hiking boots) but also colder weather clothing like base layers and thermal underwear which are designed specifically for winter use!
Walking and running
Of all the outdoor exercises to do, walking and jogging are the most simple of the outdoor activities to maintain throughout the winter months because they don't require much additional equipment or specific circumstances.
You can go walking or running outside in any weather as long as it's not too cold.
Keep your speed down, especially if you're walking with someone or pushing a stroller.
Potholes are common on sidewalks, and uneven surfaces can be hazardous to walk on if you're not paying attention. And do your best to stay clear of unclean pavements because snow and ice may make things even more challenging.
Stretch it out
If you exercise outdoors during winter, make sure to spend some time warming up first. Stretching is an important part of any workout routine; it helps improve flexibility and balance as well as reduce the risk of injuries.
Warm-up exercises should include light cardio or jumping jacks (stretch your legs, arms and shoulders) before moving on to calisthenics like pushups & squats which will stretch out muscles in your upper body too!
Remember not to overexert yourself at this stage because you don't want cold blood rushing away from your heart prematurely after all that hard work!
Some people think stretching cold muscles can lead them into injury so avoid doing so if necessary - always consult a doctor for advice beforehand.
If you're warming up indoors, consider doing some advanced stretches such as yoga poses or Pilates moves to help improve flexibility and range of motion.
The advent of the global pandemic and closures of gyms up and down the country saw a huge influx of new runners pounding the streets - some stuck to it, some didn't - and as colder weather is fast approaching again, any new runners may perhaps need to adjust their routine a little to account for the drop on temperatures and the possibility of frost and snow.
Be sure to have appropriate footwear when you go running; shoes that either do not fit or have a less-marked tread could be a recipe for disaster!
If you are looking to start running this winter as a complete noob, you may want to consider joining a running club.
These types of groups are excellent, not only for company on your runs but also for help and advice in how to make improvements to your form/programme.
Hiking is a great winter workout and, with the right gear, can be comfortable even in sub-zero temperatures.
The colder it gets, though, the more important your choice of footwear becomes; hiking boots are designed to support your ankles on uneven terrain - make sure they fit properly before starting out or you could end up causing injury!
Be aware that mittens tend to provide better warmth than gloves because fingers share their heat together inside them.
If you're going for longer hikes where there's an increased risk of frostbite and hypothermia then we recommend picking up some thermal underwear as well as waterproofs like ski pants/jackets which will keep every part of your body dry throughout those harsh conditions.
Make sure you take it easy and prepare a route ahead of time - the days are rapidly getting shorter, so no one wants to be caught in the middle of nowhere.
Planning your route isn't only for keeping you from getting lost; it's also crucial when you're out in the cold to minimise exactly how long you're exposed to the elements.
If you are looking to stay fit over the colder months, but want an outdoor activity that is more than simply walking/hiking or running - why not consider cycling?
There are several reasons why it may be one of the best workouts for winter. For starters, there's less need to worry about getting lost - if your route takes you through fields and forests this can also help keep exposure time down, meaning there's less chance of hypothermia developing.
Did you know that there are health benefits of using a Exercise Bike?
To ensure you have the safest experience make sure you pick up some cycling specific winter clothing - thermal underwear, base layers and waterproofs are all great for keeping your body warm in cold weather.
Keeping your bike in tip-top shape is crucial in the colder months; make sure to pick up some bike de-icer and cycle in a few short bursts when the temperature drops below zero.
If you do opt for cycling over running or walking, make sure that your equipment is suitable; if it has been sitting in storage all winter then chances are it's rusted - don't risk injury!
If possible, consider bringing your bike indoors overnight so that any moisture can evaporate away from metal components like gears/brakes etc. before heading out during the colder months.
In the same way that you would avoid certain areas on your walks/runs when the winter weather hits, make sure you avoid cycling on cycle paths or pavements that have been treated with salt/brine.
Aside from the fact that they can still be extremely slippery, the corrosive chemicals used to keep surfaces ice-free can damage your bike so it's best to stick to roads and gravel tracks when the temperature drops below zero - keep you eyes peeled for any black ice too!
We hope that your new found knowledge will help you get the most out of your workout in the colder months.
Remember, no matter what type of exercise is right for you - walking, running, hiking, cycling - you should always wear appropriate gear when doing physical activity outside.