Cold weather does not mean the end of exercise. With the frigid temps we are currently experiencing one typically feels like not exercising at all, but staying indoors in your jammies all day! The past few days have tested us all. Even our local YMCA closed it's doors for two days during what they are calling Chiberia! With the weather temps dipping below zero, it may be time to take a break from exercising outdoors and exercise in the comfort of your home.
Our trainers at Destination Fitness create unique ways to help you exercise in the comfort of your home. However if you do intend to exercise outdoors, please follow these helpful hints!
Dress in Layers!
One of the biggest mistakes you can make while exercising in cold weather is to dress too warmly. This statement reminds me of Ralphie's brother in the Christmas Story who was dressed so warmly that he couldn't put his arms down!
Exercise generates a considerable amount of heat...enough to make you feel like it's much warmer than it really is. However, once your sweat starts to dry, you can actually get chilled! The best way to dress in cold weather during exercise is to layer, layer, layer! Dressing in layers will allow you to remove a layer when you start to sweat and then to put them back on as needed. Remember with the limited daylight hours to wear reflective clothing.
- Start with a thin layer of synthetic material, such as polypropylene, which will draw the sweat or wick it away from your body
- Avoid cotton, which will stay wet on your skin
- Add a layer of fleece or wool for insulation
- Next add a layer with a waterproof, breathable outdoor layer
- A down jacket or vest may actually cause you to overheat if you are exercising hard. If you are more lean you may need more insulation than someone who is heavier
- Consider wearing a face mask or scarf to warm the air before it enters your lungs
Protecting your hands, feet and ears
When it's cold outside, blood flow tends to concentrate to your body's core, leaving your hands and feet vulnerable to frostbite. Try wearing a thin pair of gloves under a pair of heavier gloves or mittens lined with wool or fleece. Always wear your mittens or gloves before your hands become cold and then remove them if your hands begin to seat.
Consider buying exercise shoes a half-size or one size larger than usual to allow for thick thermal socks or an extra pair of regular socks. Wear sturdy footwear with good traction to prevent slips and falls on the snow and ice. Don't forget a hat or headband to protect your ears, which also are vulnerable to frostbite!
Top Calorie Burning Outdoor Exercises
- Cross Country Skiing or Snowshoeing 545 calories per hour
- Ice Hockey or Ice Skating 500 calories per hour
- Snowboarding or Skiing 500 calories per hour
- Bobsledding 475 calories per hour
- Shoveling snow 408 calories per hour
- Curling 270 calories per hour
- Snowmobiling 240 calories per hour
Health risks during Cold Winter Exercise
Most people can exercise safely outdoors during the cold weather if you take proper precautions. However, there are some that should not. If you suffer from Asthma, Heart Problems or Reynaud's disease, please check with your doctor before you exercise outdoors.
Don't forget to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated during the winter is just as important as it is in the summer. We tend to get more dehydrated or dried out during the winter with the furnace running or the warm air from our car vents blowing in our faces. Drink before, during and after your workout even if you don't feel thirsty. Remember when you do feel thirsty, this means you are on your way to dehydration.
Remember to tell someone that you will be exercising outdoors and which route you will be taking and when you expect to return. If you slip and fall in the winter, hypothermia can get the better of you, especially if no one knows to go looking for you.
Stay warm and remember we are here to help you get fit for 2014!
In good health,
Jill Lindberg, Owner, Destination Fitness