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How to Keep Up with a Workout Routine During the Cold Season
Once daylight saving time and winter weather hits, it’s harder to get up and go work out. Days are shorter, weather is colder, and you may just feel like avoiding working out altogether. (And who could blame you?)
In fact, Bradley Cardinal, PhD, an exercise physiologist at Oregon State University says, “The winter months can be tough for some people's fitness routines. It's a lot easier to get out and exercise when the weather is warm."
So, use these smart tips to fool your brain into keeping up your workout routine during the cold months:
Dress Dry, Not Warm
It takes your body some time to acclimate to the changes in temperature. But even in the cold, you’ll get warm when you’re working out outside. So, the best way is to dress dry, not warm. The reason? When you sweat, the sweat itself doesn’t dry and starts to make you feel cold during your workout. When that happens, it could cause you to get sick. (Your extremities need special protection, and we’ll get to that, below.)
When it’s dark and cold out, just getting out can be tough — let alone making it to the gym! So, think about how you can get creative with your workouts in the winter. To start: Try working out at home and switching up your routine.
When you’re training outside, always be sure to wear layers. It’s a lot easier on your body to simply peel the layers off as you go, than it is to endure the cold and shivering.
Protect Your Skin
You may become preoccupied while you’re training, and may not feel the cold. So, always remember to protect your skin. Any skin exposed for long periods of time could get a very serious case of frostbite. You can always remove layers if you get too hot, but you can’t reverse frostbite.
Protect your Extremities
Your extremities are the furthest from your heart, which means they ordinarily get the least amount of blood flow, even when training. Extremities also get cold quicker than other parts of your body, so make sure to protect them by wearing clothing that’ll keep the extremities warm.
Don’t forget about your warm-up exercises! In the cold, your body will take longer to “thaw out” and limber up. It’s best to focus on a thorough warm-up before you start exercising.
Try a Winter Sport
If you’re struggling to keep to your routine in the winter, it may be time to try a winter sport. There are so many different things you can do to have fun and keep the pounds off. Try skiing, cross country skiing, ice skating, or even snowmobiling.
Join a Gym
Joining a gym can help you stay on track in the cold months. One advantage to gyms rather than training at home, is that gyms come equipped with expensive equipment and machines to help you get your burn on. Some gyms even offer classes like Yoga, Pilates, or Zumba. Those are all great ways to get in a workout in while having fun.
Walk at the Mall
Your local mall is a great place to get in some productive exercise. It’s warm, indoors, and long enough to get a good walk in. Get that much-needed long winter walk in at the mall.
Swimming is a great low-impact, full-body workout. Some gyms have pools, but if yours doesn’t, go to your local community center. They typically have pools you can use for open swim.
Take the Stairs
One way to stay fit in the winter months is by taking the stairs whenever you can. Try walking up and down the stairs at work, at the mall, or even at home.
The best way to keep to your routine is to stay motivated. Find a way to stay motivated during the cold months, and remind yourself that the warm months are just around the corner!
Let us know which one on the list helped you stay on track with your workouts, in the comments below.