Training in cold weather can be difficult, but with the right preparation and safety measures, it can be a rewarding experience. Learn how you can stay safe while training in cold weather with these tips and advice.
As temperatures drop and winter approaches, we may be tempted to stay inside and avoid the cold. But if you're a fitness enthusiast, exercising outdoors during the colder months has plenty of benefits. Training in cold weather can help improve your overall health by increasing cardiovascular endurance and strengthening your immune system. Here are some tips for safely training in cold weather to reap all its rewards without succumbing to frostbite or hypothermia.
The key is layering up! Wear lightweight clothing made from breathable fabrics like wool or polyester to keep moisture away from your body while keeping warm. Avoid cotton as it absorbs sweat, making it difficult to retain heat when training in chilly conditions outdoors. Opt for fleece-lined leggings, tracksuit bottoms with thermal lining, and water-resistant jackets/coats with insulation capabilities, such as goose-down padding. Top off with a hat/beanie (that covers ears), gloves/mittens (for extra protection against wind chill), and warm socks – these items should also be made out of materials such as merino wool blends that provide maximum warmth but also allow airflow circulation at the same time.
Warm up indoors
Before heading outside into frigid temperatures, take 10 minutes to warm your muscles up through light dynamic movement indoors where the temperature is more comfortable. This helps reduce muscle strain during exercise when done outdoors later on because blood flow has already been increased prior, improving oxygenation levels throughout muscular tissue, which leads to better performance outcomes.
Start slow and adjust the intensity accordingly
When running, jogging, or walking, begin at a slower speed than average until the body adjusts. This prevents overexertion and allows joints to move freely without too much stress being put onto them since they can stiffen when exposed to extreme elements like the low-temperature environment you may be dealing with. Also, take breaks when you need to; learning how your body reacts to cold weather is a process, so give yourself grace if your winter run is slower than your springtime runs.
Drink plenty of fluids
Hydration is essential. It may take you longer to feel thirsty due to the lack of humidity in the outdoor environment, where sweat evaporates faster. Drink water before starting your winter activity, especially those performed below 0 °Celsius. Otherwise, you risk suffering dehydration, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. When spending more than 30 minutes outside, having access to ample clean drinking water is essential. Before you go out, ensure you have either packed water or a way to get water while you are out. Staying properly hydrated will ensure adequate electrolyte levels remain balanced enough to sustain the energy production needed to perform optimally.
Cool down properly
After completing your cold-weather workout, finish with some stretches targeting the major muscle groups worked out that day. Stretch each limb individually, holding each position for at least 20 seconds per repetition for four rounds.
Training in cold weather can be safe with the proper preparation and is a viable option for any fitness enthusiast brave enough to endure the elements.