How to Workout in The Winter
If you are like us, then even snow-covered sidewalks and freezing temperatures can’t keep you from venturing outside. There’s something about that crisp winter air that can help keep you moving longer than you thought possible. Working out in the cold brings its own benefits, like helping you avoid the winter blues and that extra holiday weight, but it also comes with its own set of risks that you need to be prepared for.
Without taking the right precautions, the cold weather can exacerbate existing conditions, such as asthma and heart problems, and even cause new conditions like hypothermia. Don’t worry though, we are here to provide some tips to help keep you safe while working out in the winter.
1. Warm up first
Exercising in cold weather increases your risk of muscle strains. Think of your muscles on a cold day like stretching a cold rubber band. You need to warm them up before putting them to the test. The best way to warm up your muscles is to mimic the exercise you’ll be doing with low impact movements.
Save the stretching for after your workout. Studies have shown that stretching before a workout doesn’t actually help you avoid strains or pulls and can actually cause a decrease in strength and explosive power.
2. Stay hydrated
It’s important to stay hydrated all the time, but especially when working out in the winter. In cold temperatures, your body works harder to stay warm causing you to consume more calories. As a result, you’ll need to drink more water than you normally would during intense winter workouts to avoid dehydration.
3. Trade the cotton for moisture-wicking fabric
Sweat is your enemy in cold weather. Fabrics such as cotton will absorb your sweat and become damp. Damp clothing will absorb your body heat and leave you feeling cold and miserable. Staying in this state for even short periods of time can lead to hypothermia or frostbite.
Moisture-wicking clothing with synthetic fabric, like our Dri-Power® Performance collection, removes moisture from the skin while drying 50% faster than cotton to keep you warm and comfortable.
4. Dress in layers
One of the best things you can do when working out in the winter is to dress in layers. Dressing in layers will not only keep you warm but will also allow you to remove clothing as you warm up to help avoid excess sweat.
Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, like our Dri-Power® Core Performance T-Shirt and CoolCore® Compression 7/8 Tights. Then move on to a lightweight midlayer like our Dri-Power® ¼ Zip and Fleece Joggers. Depending on how cold it is, you can stop there or add on a warmer top layer, like a hood or crew from our Dri-Power® or Cotton Classic Fleece Collections
5. Wear bright colors
In many places, winter brings low light that can make it difficult to see dark colors, even in the middle of the day. Wearing bright colors when working out outdoors in the winter can ensure you stand out in the lower light. Luckily, our Dri-Power® Fleece Hoodie and Fleece Crew Sweatshirt come in a bunch of bright colors so you can stay warm, dry, and safe.
6. Make sure you have good traction
Anyone that has lived in a freezing climate can attest to how dangerous ice can be. To avoid a slip and fall, make sure you have shoes that offer good traction on slippery and icy surfaces. There are shoes for every type of winter condition, from regular running shoes with waterproof fabric to specialty winter running shoes complete with grippy lugs. Find a pair that will keep you dry and upright in the conditions you plan on working out in.
7. Head inside
Sometimes it’s just too dang cold to workout outside. Those days are perfect for a trip to the gym or a little bit of exercise at home. Running on a treadmill or lifting some weights can be a great alternative to what you had planned outside. If you don’t have a gym membership, you can also do calisthenics at home to get the same workout without the weights. There are plenty of YouTube videos and other resources that can help you figure out which calisthenics exercises are right for you.
Working out in the winter is great for your health. It forces you to burn more calories while helping you avoid the winter blues. However, without the right preparation, working out in the winter can pose unique threats to your health. Use the tips above to stay safe when exercising in cold weather.
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