Your dedication to staying healthy shouldn’t have to stop when the weather gets cold. But, we know that snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can make it hard to get out of bed—let alone get out of the house for a workout.
When the wind chill dips below freezing, experts recommend that you stay indoors. But, if you’re dedicated to outdoor fitness, it’s necessary to take safety precautions in all winter weather. No matter where you exercise, knowing how to stay warm and avoid injury will help you continue to achieve your fitness goals as colder weather approaches.
These five tips for safely working out during the winter will help you stay healthy and motivated all season long.
Choosing appropriate clothing for the wet and chilly winter weather can be tough. When you’re getting dressed for outdoor exercise, a few things to consider include inclement weather, wind chill, sweating, and overheating.
For example, when you look outside during the winter, it seems hard to believe you could overheat. Too many warm layers can lock in heat and cause trouble. Not to mention, clothes covered in sweat can freeze in the wind.
The best strategy for staying warm for your workout is to wear a hat, gloves, and layers of weather-resistant and moisture-wicking clothing. This will not only keep you warm and dry, but also give you the freedom to remove layers as you heat up during your workout.
It’s important to stay just as hydrated in winter as you would during summer. A lack of hydration increases your risk of an injury. In cold weather, this can be especially dangerous for those exercising alone.
While an ice-cold drink of water may sound great during a summer workout, it’s not as appetizing on chilly days. Drinking room-temperature water before, during, and after outdoor exercise can make it easier to stay hydrated.
Those looking to stay fit during the winter are no strangers to wet and icy conditions. To avoid injury, it’s important to wear shoes with good traction, especially if you’re running multiple times a week.
You may be surprised at how quickly shoes can wear out and lose traction. If you’re exercising outdoors often, especially in inclement weather, it’s best to replace your shoes every few months to ensure they have a good grip and protect you from injury.
During the winter, there are exercise-related health risks that go beyond injury. Hypothermia and frostbite are conditions resulting from extended time in cold conditions, and they can have dangerous repercussions if you don’t treat them. Knowing these symptoms can help you stay safe and know when to go indoors.
Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms include:
Frostbite is also the result of extended exposure to cold temperatures, but it occurs when your skin tissue freezes. The nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes are especially susceptible. Symptoms include:
If you notice any of these symptoms, head inside immediately and call your doctor. Your safety is more important than an overly risky outdoor workout!
When it’s wet and gloomy, sometimes it’s nice to avoid the winter weather altogether! Find a great indoor space to exercise at your local YMCA, whether that’s running on the track or practicing yoga.
If the winter weather has disrupted your workout routine, start a new one by joining a group fitness class, swimming, or strength training. Joining a gym and finding other people dedicated to fitness can help you find the motivation and resources you need to stay on track.
Don’t let the winter weather keep you from staying fit! By prioritizing safety outdoors and moving your exercise routine indoors, you can take steps to safely work out during the winter.
With two locations in Lafayette, Indiana, the Lafayette Family YMCA is a community committed to healthy living and social responsibility. For more fitness tips and to stay up to date about YMCA events, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or visit our website.