Believe it or not, I will refrain from quoting everyone’s favorite sword-and-boobs TV show in this introduction to my winter workout article.
Yes, that is how strong I am. But all kidding aside, it is getting colder and for many people, this means giving up on their outdoor workouts.
This does not have to happen. It is perfectly possible to work out outdoors in the winter, with a little proper preparation and equipment. Also, the proper mindset.
1. Embrace the Winter
Before anything else, you need to come to peace with the fact that it is cold outside and that you will have to work out in conditions that are somewhat removed from your standard workout environment.
However, such conditions can be a great boost for you and your workouts. The cold is invigorating and it can be inspiring.
For example, running in a few inches of snow will provide an incredibly intense workout that you will never forget.
You will have to shorten your distances, but you will get just as good at running in the snow. If not even better.
The winter is your friend.
2. Protect Your Body
While working out in the cold can be the best workout you have ever had, you need to keep in mind that your body will first need to get used to the new conditions. It is just the same as when you work out outside during the particularly hot summer months and you need to hydrate more often.
In the winter, your body gets cold much quicker, meaning that you will probably have to spend more time stretching and warming up. Furthermore, you will need to shorten your workouts to avoid overstraining your system.
You will also find that the surfaces get more slippery during the winter, and you need to be extra careful not to fall down. Finally, avoid staying outside sweaty in the winter. Sweat and freezing cold do not mix. In general, learn about winter workout injuries and how to avoid them.
Finally, your immune system will be weaker in winter and you might want to boost it a bit through proper nutrition.
3. Equip Yourself
Every workout needs proper equipment, and during the winter months, this is even more pronounced. You cannot exactly run out wearing your everyday spring/summer gear. During the winter, you will need appropriate fitness clothes that will be able to keep you warm and take the brunt of the freezing cold.
For example, all fabrics will need to be much thicker and warmer, ensuring that you are not being pummeled by the elements. Your shoes will need to be extra grippy so as to account for the (probably) slippery surface you will be running on; of course in case you decide to do some winter running.
4. Winter Activities
A great thing about winter is that it allows for certain winter-specific activities. They can sometimes be location-sensitive, but they will always provide a great workout. For instance, something as simple as ice skating can be a great changeup from your regular workouts.
Skiing and snowboarding is one of those things that you cannot exactly do just about anywhere, but if you can somehow get yourself on some slopes, then by all means, do it. A more accessible winter activity would be to go hiking on hilly snow-covered terrain.
Finally, something as simple and mundane as shoveling snow or playing in the snow with your friends and family can actually be a great workout.
5. Watch Your Diet
People tend to get sloppy about their diet during the winter months. For one, it is the time of holidays and people get relaxed. Also, heavier meals and drinks are a part of the Western winter culture and that is perfectly fine. However, do not get too sloppy and stop watching your diet altogether. Be smart about your diet in the winter.
On the other hand, if you plan on working out in the cold, especially for extended periods of time, you have to be aware of the fact that you burn extra calories in the cold. Load up on carbs before any strenuous outdoor workouts.
Just don’t pig out.
Peter is a fitness and health writer at The Beard Mag magazine. He is dedicated to healthy living, exercising and spending time outdoors as much as possible.
A firm believer in healthy diet, natural smoothies and energy healthy drinks for overall health benefits, Peter is powered by true motivation in all aspects of yoga and fitness-ing.
He hopes to run his own yoga and fitness center someday.
Author: Peter Minkoff
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