Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Getting a jump start on your resolutions, or been working out for a while? Either way, these are some great tips.  Living in the Georgia/South Carolina area, thankfully we don’t experience a LOT of extreme winter weather conditions.  But it’s still important to remember these tips when you are exercising outside in the winter!

Matthew Magnante, an exercise author at FitnessVolt put together a list of some important safety tips when it comes to exercising outside in the winter. And if you’re looking for something you can do in the warmth and comfort of your own home, check out the best at home exercises here.

  • Drink Up!

    Yes, you can still get dehydrated in cold weather.  In fact, Magnante points out you’re at an elevated risk in colder temperatures! With cold temperatures, our blood vessels constrict to help reduce heat loss through our skin. This leads our bodies to not signal thirst as quickly as it would during exercise in warmer temperatures. That’s why we tend to crave water less while working out in winter.  And research backs that up, finding that cold weather can reduce our thirst sensation by as much as 40%!

    Your best bet is to continue drinking water like you do at other times of the year.  Also, drink before heading out, throughout the workout, and after!

    And make sure you fuel your body! We tend to burn more calories in cold weather, so prioritizing nutrition is important to maintain our energy.

    Female drinking water

    Photo: kieferpix/iStock/Getty Images

  • Polyester Over Cotton

    If you tend to sweat, cotton can be a bad option when temperatures drop.  Because of it’s highly absorbent nature, cotton will stay wet, instead of drying out. According to Magnante, water conducts heat away from the body up to 25 times faster than air.  This leads you to lose body heat rapidly in the cold… and increases your risk of hyperthermia.

    Polyester and wool are moisture-wicking.  This keeps your warmer, and absorbs less water. Polyester insulates you, even when you’re wet, trapping air between the fabric and your skin.

    If it’s really cold, there’s a three-tier layer system that many use when working out outside: a base layer (something moisture-wicking), a main layer for insulation, and a waterproof outer layer (something to repel rain, snow, and wind).

    Personally, I make sure I have gloves and a hat or ear warmer too! And warm socks help… you just don’t want anything too thick that you’re not used to– because that could lead to blisters.

    Running in winter

    Photo: BartekSzewczyk/iStock/Getty Images

  • Stretch! Before and After

    Stretching is always important to any fitness routine. In the winter, it’s even more important, as your muscle will contract to hold in your body heat.  This makes you more prone to injury.

    Magnante recommends dynamic stretching (body weight squats, calf raises, jumping jacks, etc.) before you head out for a winter run.  This helps increase the internal temperature of your muscles and reduce the risk of injury.

    After the workout, it’s best to do static stretching.  This type of stretching involves holding the stretch for 15-30 seconds.

    Woman doing stretching exercise

    Photo: Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images Plus

  • Shorter Sessions

    This is especially true if you’re running on snow and/or ice. Different muscles are used because of reduced friction and uneven surfaces.  This puts you at risk for injury.  Give your body time to adapt to these new conditions before pushing for your regular distance.

    Magnante also recommends you reduce the distance between your steps, keeping your feet under your center of gravity.  This can help you recover easier if you were to lose your balance.

    Young woman jogging on a snow in the city .

    Photo: zamrznutitonovi/iStock/Getty Images Plus

  • Tell Someone!

    This, in my opinion, is NOT just for winter!  It’s always important to let someone know where you’re going when you’re headed out for that walk or run.  I always let someone know, and have my Find My app enabled so my fiancé knows where I am.

    Texting sms with phone in city outdoor park. Woman sending text message with cellphone. Chatting on instant messaging app. Person using smartphone. Conversation and discussion with friend online.

    Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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