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Exercising in the Cold: Winter Workout Tips

Posted by The Best of Health
Categories: Fitness /

When the winter months arrive, it’s easy to lose the motivation to exercise. Low temperatures and short days don’t often inspire enthusiasm for physical activity. However, exercise is as important in the winter as it is any other time of the year. Here are the facts about working out in the cold and why it’s necessary.

Exercising in the Cold: The Facts

There are a fair few widespread myths about winter workouts. For example, it’s a myth that you burn more calories in the cold. Here are a few facts about exercising in the cold:

  • Your body uses less energy to warm up in the cold than it does to cool down in the heat during summer.
  • Having a cold doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. If your symptoms are mild, there’s no reason you can’t stay active. However, it’s important not to exercise if you have a fever as it will make you feel worse and in some cases cause further health problems.
  • If you have asthma, you need to take extra care as the cold air can trigger symptoms. You should use your inhaler before you exercise and take it with you during your activity.

Reasons to Exercise in the Winter

Regular exercise is always important, no matter what the season, but many people feel less motivated to exercise when it’s cold and dark. If you need a little more encouragement, here are a few extra reasons to stay active in winter:

  • Research suggests that exercise helps to strengthen your body’s defences, reducing your risk of catching coughs, colds and other ailments that are common in the winter.
  • People typically eat more in the winter and their bodies store more fat, so exercise is all the more important to help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Shorter days can bring down your mood, but regular workouts will keep giving you a rush of endorphins that will lift your spirits.
  • When you’re more active, you have more energy, and that extra energy can make it easier to get out of your warm bed on cold, dark mornings!

Winter Workout Tips

For those of you who intend to keep running or engaging in other forms of exercise outdoors this winter, here are a few tips:

  • Wear bright and reflective clothing so you can be seen in the dark. You should also keep to well-lit areas.
  • Wear dry fit material which will dry quickly as you work out. Other materials will stay wet with sweat, which will mean your body will struggle to heat up.
  • Wear several layers of clothing to ensure you stay warm enough. A lot of heat escapes through your head and hands, so consider wearing a hat and gloves.
  • Wear rubber studded soles, as there’s often an increased risk of slipping in the winter. If the weather looks icy or very rainy, opt for an indoor workout over an outdoor one to keep yourself safe.

Alternatively, you can just exercise indoors! While the cold weather shouldn’t stop you from doing outdoor activities, there are plenty of indoor ones you can engage in when the weather is particularly off-putting or unsafe. Here are just a few of the many options:

  • Badminton
  • Swimming
  • Squash
  • Yoga
  • Dancing

Dropping temperatures may make you want to hang up your exercise gear, but resist the urge to neglect your fitness during the colder months. Regular exercise will keep you feeling energetic and healthy throughout the winter, helping you beat those seasonal blues.

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