Winter is coming, and we’re here to tell you that park workouts can still be your thing. Working out in the cold can push you to go further and harder. It also makes regulating your body temperature more manageable. You can say goodbye to overheating.
But before you head out, you’ll want to do something a little different from your summer routine: give your body a chance to warm up indoors. Keep in mind that even with an indoor warm-up, you will still need the first five minutes or so to get used to the cold. There are other benefits to a dynamic warm-up, however; like the realization that nothing is less motivation than a stiff and cold outdoor stretch!
Nothing is less motivating than a stiff and cold outdoor stretch.
Temperature, A journal on Medical Physiology and Beyond says, “A warm-up increasing body temperatures will, therefore...increase performance in cold environments, especially during fast movements.” Not to mention, a good dynamic stretch prevents unnecessary injuries.
Run through some dynamic exercises like jumping jacks, back-pedal jog, or an invigorating yoga flow. The exercises can vary tremendously; the aim is to, “increase blood flow, get the muscles properly stretched out, increase flexibility and improve functional mobility in your joints,” says Core Physical Therapy.
Just because you’re not seeing as much sweat, doesn’t mean your body won’t get dehydrated. In dry-cold air, you could be sweating, and just not seeing it. When there isn’t a lot of moisture in the air your sweat will vaporize instead of sitting on your skin. And when you sweat without replenishing you are asking for a bad day. Don’t just take our word on it, here is Harvard’s School of Public Healths account,
“Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.”
Not thirsty? Summit Medical Group recommends drinking something warm (and not caffeinated) before stepping out. Summit Medical Group found that during the colder months 40 percent of people are less thirsty than during the hot months. They say this creates a problem because “the body’s need for water is unchanged year-round.” The bottom line? Coffee doesn't count as water and you should be carrying around that water bottle even if you're not heat-induced-thirsty.
Safely working out in the cold can be done. You warm up indoors, make sure you hydrate before and after, and don’t go out if the wind chill is dropping the temperature to dangerous digits. Be mindful of your cool-down walks as well. Any sweat lingering on your skin post-workout will feel like ice with a cold breeze.
Running is a great winter workout option. Cold weather training means no heat stress. Heat is often what makes running feel so much harder, says The Journal Of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy.
Not a runner, but thinking about picking it up? A brisk fall day might just be the perfect day to try it out! Just check for ice and make sure your shoes have a little more grip than normal. And if a big ice storm hits, you can consider heading out for some icy fun. Ice skating can burn anywhere from 300-600 calories an hour, depending on your skill level.
Lastly don't be afraid to take your HIIT or CrossFit training outdoors this fall and winter. Working out in the cold doesn't have to be daunting. Without the heat barring down on you you can really test your limits: can you go the extra mile or do one last set? BRRRN (a cold-training facility) co-founder Johnny Adamic suggests getting creative. In an interview he says, "If there are leaves or snow on the ground, clear a path with a minute per leg of lateral lunges."
Working out in the cold doesn't have to be daunting. Without the heat barring down on you you can really test your limits: can you go the extra mile or do one last set?
The team is looking forward to keeping up our outdoor workouts this winter and we want you to be too! As always if you suffer from asthma, a lung condition, or have other concerns please speak with a medical professional before exercising in extreme temperatures.
There’s only one last tip we have for you, dress in layers. And protect your skin. Try a silk face mask to keep your skin moisturized and don't forget the sunscreen. Don't let the cold weather stop you from crushing your goals and living your life!