Nature undergoes dramatic changes during the winter season, and so do we. Humans don’t necessarily undergo the transformations that other animals do, but seasonal changes do have physical and mental effects on us.
That’s why it’s important to continue a regular year-round exercise regime, regardless of seasonal conditions. Read on for our favorite tips to help you maintain your winter workout routine.
Here Are 5 Tips to Maintain Your Winter Workout Routine:
Use these tips to keep your workout routine strong, with minimal interruption, throughout the winter season.
1. Go Outside
One of the myths about exercising outdoors is that it can’t be done in cold or snowy conditions – unless you’re skiing or skating. While it’s true that biking through slushy streets probably isn’t the best idea, wintery weather can be a great time for outdoor running or strenuous walking.
You’ll burn more calories.
Walking or running through snow take more effort, and our bodies have to work harder in general when it’s cold out. How much burning depends on the individual, but our internal “furnaces” definitely use up more fuel outside in the winter.
It’s good for your heart.
The same extra effort required by snow and cold weather that burns up calories also exercises your heart. Practitioners with heart conditions, however, should be cautious.
You’ll get more Vitamin D.
Did you know Vitamin D is nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin?” While there are less sunny days in the winter, the level of sunlight is more intense. Exercising outdoors in the winter can expose you to more of this vital vitamin.
2. Hit the Gym
Even though it’s ideal to keep training outside during the winter, you can’t realistically do it as often.
You’ll want to hit the gym for some of your sessions to stay active and warm. By switching to an indoor pool, or substituting outdoor riding for treadmills and stationary bicycles, you’ll stay on top of your workout routine.
Many gyms are now advertising special classes and discounts for winter exercise programs and memberships. In addition to offering warm and dry workouts, these programs provide chances to get training assistance and meet new friends.
3. Prepare Your Wardrobe
Outdoor exercise requires “winterizing,” as you’ll be dealing with cold, wet, and windy conditions. Pro tip: dress as though the temperature is 10 degrees warmer out than it actually is, to prepare for the increase in your body temperature.
Dress in layers.
Your bottom shirt should be a “wicking” material to draw away perspiration, while your upper or insulating shirt depends on outside temperatures. A sweatshirt over a long-sleeved top often suffices when it’s between 40 or 50 degrees outside. Fleece jackets over these two lower shirt layers work when it’s under 40 degrees.
Wear pants that “wick” as opposed to shorts.
Wear hats, gloves and warm socks.
This will help you regulate your entire body’s temperature. Unlined “rain pants” and “shells” worn over clothing provide flexible waterproofing.
Winterized footwear is important.
Remember to add reflective tape to clothing for late afternoon, evening, or poor weather exercise. And even if you’re not a jogger, pick up a pair of winter running shoes when exercising outside. This type of shoe is warm, waterproof, and has special treading to get you through snow and over ice.
It’s unlikely that indoor exercise clothing will need to be upgraded much in the winter. However listen to your body, and adjust accordingly.
4. Boost Your Immunity by Eating the Right Foods
To perform well in the cold, you’ll want a strong immune system. Catching a cold can be tedious for someone with an active lifestyle and, even if you exercise at the gym, you’ll still have to go out in the freezing air afterward to head home.
Your body is far more vulnerable to disease after you’ve worked up a sweat and tired yourself out with training, so make sure to protect it.
You need to make sure you are eating right to prevent any sickness. Plan hefty and nutritious meals, and at least one meal per day should be home cooked and warm. On top of that, you need to snack a lot to make up for the extra lost calories. Good options for a winter exercise snack include chocolate, dried fruit, cookies and energy bars.
Drinking plenty of water is also important for your immunity, because the cold air speeds up the dehydration process. You may not feel as thirsty when exercising in winter, but hydration is important. Your workouts should start and end with water, and it should be brought along.
One final tip to staying healthy this time of year is to get plenty of rest. Athletes like Reggie White and Anthony Bennett know the dangers of working out without sufficient rest. We’re all normally sleep deprived.
Changing seasons and early darkness throws circadian rhythms even more off. Exercising adults should plan on at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night, and shouldn’t work out unless they’re well rested.
5. Bring Your Workout Routine Home
A great option for your winter workout routine is to stay home and make your own routine. Many exercises can be done at home with just a bit of equipment – like comfortable clothes and a yoga mat. If you’re not keen on creating your own routine, there are plenty of online tutorials you can find for your at-home workout, including some right here at YouAligned’s YA Classes!
You’re Ready to Tackle Your Winter Workout Routine!
Taking your workout routine outside during the winter has many benefits for your health and will help you achieve your fitness goals. There are also plenty of indoor workouts that you can do either at home or at the gym to stay fit and maintain your routine. All that’s left for you to do is find the right balance between them.
Finally, remember that winter offers new challenges and a chance to try out a completely new workout routine. Your willingness to try new types of workouts as you approach a new year means you’re guaranteeing continued fitness success for years to come!