Tips to Help You Exercise in the Winter
As we start a new year, many of us are excited to hop into our 2022 resolution of getting active and exercising more. And while this is a common goal for millions of people across the globe, freezing temperatures during the winter months can make for a rocky start. Short days paired with the icy winds and cool air can make it difficult to find the motivation to get our bodies moving. Not to mention, there are certain precautions to consider when exercising outside that you don’t have to worry about in the summer.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting to exercise, we’ve rounded up a few essential tips to help you work out in the wintertime!
Contrary to popular belief, the hardest part of working out (especially in the winter) isn’t the exercising itself, it's actually getting there to begin with! Goal setting when it comes to staying active is so important. Once you get into the habit of working out regularly, it will start to feel like an enjoyable part of your routine rather than a chore.
The most important part of goal setting is to make your goals specific. Don’t just say that you want to work out more. Map out specific goals–think “I want to go to a yoga class twice every week.”, “I’m going to go to the gym 5 days during the week.”, or “I want to be able to run a 10 minute mile.” All of these goals are specific enough for you to make a game plan to get there and there are clear measurable benchmarks. Showing up for yourself is the hardest part, everything else comes easily!
Find a partner
Another way to motivate yourself to work out more is to find someone to do it with you! Having a workout partner will keep you both accountable which means you’re more likely to show up, even when it’s cold and dreary outside. Having a workout partner can keep you distracted from the poor weather because it feels like you’re hanging out with friends! You can also attend workout classes regularly to hold you accountable to something that is scheduled.
Dress for the weather
If you’re planning on exercising outside, dressing appropriately is an absolute must. For your base layer of clothing, you want to start with moisture-wicking garments. Wet clothes are the easiest way to lose body heat and lead to hypothermia. Opt for clothing items that are specifically designed to wick away moisture and keep you dry. Next, you’ll want to add on layers to help keep you warm. Remember, you’re always able to remove layers if you get hot, but you’re not able to add on layers once you’re away from your home! After your base layer, you can add on a fleece jacket if it’s really cold outside. Then, you’ll want to wear a waterproof jacket, vest, or windbreaker to protect you from the rain and snow. And don’t forget about your ears, nose, hands, and feet! If it’s very cold out, always make sure to wear a hat or headband, gloves, thick socks, and waterproof sneakers.
If it’s particularly dark or there is low visibility when you’re exercising, wear bright colors so people can see you. Wearable flashlights can also help you see and help others see you!
Warm-ups are key
Warming up your body is important year-round but especially when it’s cold outside. The colder temperatures make our muscles more tense and contracted. This means that it’s easier to strain and sprain our bodies in the winter. Doing proper warm-ups before exercising heats up our muscles and makes it less likely for an injury to occur. The warm-up you do all depends on the exercise that will follow so just be sure to find out what works for you!
We all know that breathing in the freezing cold air can hurt our lungs. That’s because when the temperatures drop, our airways tighten from the cold and dry conditions. This makes breathing in more difficult and causes that pain we all have experienced at some point. Try breathing through your nose when possible as this helps to warm the air. If that’s not feasible, you can always wrap a thin scarf around your mouth to trap in some of that humidity.
When it’s not sweltering hot, it can be easy to forget to stay hydrated. Signs of dehydration (like getting thirsty) can be more difficult to notice when it’s cold out which means dehydration can happen more often than you realize! Even though it’s not hot outside you’re still losing fluids when you sweat and breathe. Chapped lips, dry skin, and a dry mouth are all signs that you need to increase your water intake. Make sure to drink water before, during, and after your workouts. Per day, it’s recommended for men to drink about 15.5 cups of water and 11.5 cups for women.
Staying hydrated can also help speed up the healing of sore muscles! Water helps to increase recovery time and removes toxins from your body which keeps your muscles healthy. If you’re exercising regularly and are cramping or getting sore easily, it may be another sign that you need to up your water intake.
Don’t forget to rest
Rest days are just as important as active days! Resting helps both your body and your mind stay sharp. It also lessens the risk for injuries. If you’re just starting to work out this winter, don’t be afraid to take it slow by exercising 3 days a week and slowly increase the frequency when you’re ready. Just make sure you’re giving yourself at least 2 days a week to rest!
Treat sore muscles
Because strains and soreness are more common in the wintertime, it’s important to treat them proactively after exercising. Over-the-counter pain relief, like the SINSINPAS AREX Instant Pain Relief Patches, are ideal for treating muscle soreness and aches. The AREX patches are simple to apply and are both durable and flexible to be worn when working out or resting. They can help alleviate joint and muscle pains, sprains, backache, and more. The best part? The AREX Instant Pain Relief Patches provide long-lasting relief with a cooling and heating effect. Say goodbye to muscle soreness after getting active this winter!