As the winter hits and temperatures drop, it can be tempting to stay at home and forego your regular workout routine. However, being active in the cold weather is not only possible, but also beneficial to one’s physical and mental health. Embracing the chill may energize your body and mind, and with the right mindset and preparation, you may still enjoy outdoor activities even when the temperature decreases.
- Layer Up for Success
The key to surviving cold weather is proper layering. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from your skin. Add an insulating layer to trap body heat, then a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect yourself from the elements. Dress appropriately to stay warm, dry, and comfortable on your outdoor adventures.
- Choose the Right Activities
Certain hobbies are more appropriate for cold weather than others. Winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and snowshoeing are not only pleasant but also great methods to stay active throughout the winter months. These activities stimulate many muscle groups and raise your heart rate, giving you a full-body workout while enjoying the winter scenery.
- Embrace Winter Walking
Walking is a simple and efficient strategy to stay active in the cold. Bundle up, lace on your boots, and enjoy the winter scenery by going for brisk walks in your local park or neighborhood. Walking not only benefits cardiovascular health, but it also elevates mood and reduces stress. Grab a friend or your animal companion for extra inspiration and company.
- Turn Shoveling into a Workout
Snow removal is a winter task, but it may also serve as a workout. Instead of fearing the icy driveway, use it as an opportunity to burn calories. Make sure to shovel using good body mechanics to minimize injury, and you will enjoy the satisfaction of a clear path as well as a calorie-burning workout.
- Indoor Exercise Options
Consider indoor exercising options on especially cold days. Join a gym or fitness class or purchase home exercise equipment. Many fitness applications and online platforms provide guided workouts that you can complete in the comfort of your own living room, allowing you to maintain your fitness routine without braving the weather. Giana Scott, a freshman business major, said, “Working out indoors is one of my favorite activities when it’s too cold to be outside.”
- Ice Skating for Fun and Fitness
Ice skating is a fun and calorie-burning exercise that people of all ages can enjoy, not just figure skaters and hockey fans. Many communities have outdoor ice rinks during winter. Grab a pair of skates and glide over the ice, working your leg muscles and improving balance and coordination. Katie Sullivan, a freshman business student, shared, “Going ice skating is one of my favorite winter activities.”
- Create a Winter Sports Routine
To keep active in cold weather, make winter sports a regular part of your routine. Plan certain days for activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Consistency is essential, and by including these activities in your calendar, you can ensure that physical activity remains a top priority even as temperatures decrease.
- Warm-Up Effectively
Cold temperatures can cause muscle stiffness, which increases the risk of injury. Warm up your muscles before you start any outside exercise. Dynamic stretches, a brief jog in place, and arm circles can assist blood flow and loosen your joints, preparing your body for physical activity in the cold.
- Stay Hydrated
While it may not be as visible, staying hydrated is equally important in cold weather as it is in hot weather. The dry winter air, along with physical activity, can lead to dehydration. Drink water before, during, and after your outdoor activities to keep your body hydrated and performing at its best.
- Listen to Your Body
Finally, listen to your body. If the weather is bad or you’re not feeling well, you can change your plans or take a day off. Safety should be a top priority, so look for indications of frostbite or hypothermia and know when to call it a day.
Don’t let the chilly weather prevent you from remaining active and living a healthy lifestyle. With the correct gear, mindset, and activities, you can make the winter season an opportunity to get outside and stay active.
Whether you’re participating in winter sports, going on brisk walks, or turning snow removal into a workout, staying active in cold weather can be both invigorating and fun. So, bundle up, get outside, and make the chilly season a time for fitness.