We’re not too far from the start of the spring season. For many of us that means crunch time for getting back into shape after feeling a lack of motivation during the dark and cold winter months and slacking off during the holiday season. Of course, you don’t have to wait around for the first warm day of the year to get back into the grind.
While heading out to brave the cold may not be the most appealing idea, with the right preparation and motivation, you can feel good about heading to the gym, going for a run, or even a long hike.
Just keep in mind the following suggestions in this article to stay safe and warm to make the most of the remaining winter season.
Tips For Exercising In The Winter
Clothing is a big part of staying comfortable and keeping muscles and joints warm. Here’s a quick guide for what you should consider wearing in different temperatures.
- Above 50 F – Dress for the midway point of whatever you’re doing. 50 degrees Fahrenheit may sound cold, but your body will warm up quickly at these temperatures if you have the right gear. Too many layers of clothing that you can’t easily remove may cause your exercise to suffer. Consider shorts and a tee shirt with a jacket you can remove.
- 35 to 50 F – Thermal pants or athletic shorts, a long sleeve top, and gloves are a good starting point. Choose thinner or thicker materials for your clothing if you run cold or hot at these temperatures.
- 20 to 35 F – Break out the thermals and start layering. You’ll also want a headband or beanie that fits snuggly over the ears.
- Below 20 F – Limit skin exposure. Switch to thicker socks, add a neck gaiter, and look for lightweight protective eyewear.
Every person is different, but it is better to wear too much clothing and get too hot than it is to run cold. If you get hot, you can always slow down and rest to cool your body; if you’re cold, you won’t be able to warm up easily.
Water Matters Even When You Don’t Feel Sweat
In the winter you won’t feel sweat rolling down your brow, and for a lot of people this means ignoring your water bottle. But you shouldn’t. Not only do you still sweat, but your body is working even harder to warm the cold air coming into your body and to replace moisture that is lost to the dry winter air. If you’re not sure how much to drink, try to intake the same amount you would during the summer as a starting point.
Warm Up Before Going Out
Warming up before heading is especially important as tendons and joints will get stiff in the cold air. Dynamic stretches and low intensity, full body movements are a good way to engage the body fully.
If during your exercise you stop to take a break and cool down, make sure you warm up again before pushing too hard so you don’t injure tight muscles or joints.
There is so much that can sap our motivation and desire to exercise. Whether it’s back-to-back holidays towards the end of the year, the shorter days making going outside a little less safe, or a dislike of cold weather, motivation plays a big factor in our decision to exercise or not exercise.
Staying motivated isn’t always easy, but sometimes reading about how easy it can be to stay motivated helps. Here are just a few tips.
- Plan For The Worst – If it’s too cold, dark, or the weather is bad, it’s easy to take the day off. Instead, have a backup plan that includes a routine you can do inside, even if it is less intense. Something is better than nothing.
- Do Something New – If you normally run but can’t, go for a swim (many indoor pools operates all year.) If you focus on resistance training, consider yoga or pilates. This change may be just what you need to feel good about exercise again and keep you going until Spring.
- Exercise Buddy – Having someone accountable to you, and you to them, is always a good idea. Make sure to set similar goals too so you can motivate each other.
- Why You Exercise – Try to remember how good you felt the day after exercising in the spring, summer, and fall. The weather may make things a little more comfortable, but those positive feelings should remind you that it is all worth it.
Besides staying motivated, you shouldn’t forget about your nutrition. It’s easy to fall into bad dietary habits when you aren’t active, so make sure you’re still eating healthy. If you’re still struggling to eat right or stay active, you may want to consider a supplement to help keep your body on track.
Supplements For Winter Exercise
MCT Oil USP from NuMedica is a medium-chain triglyceride formula that is an ideal source of healthy fatty acids. This supplement provides support for the metabolism of fats and may provide support for healthy weight management.
TheraSlim from Klaire Labs is a supplement that seeks to support healthy weight management and may help to neutralize starch in people whose diet consists mainly of pasta, bread, rice, and similar foods.
Warmer Weather Will Be Here Soon
Warmer weather can sneak up on all of us, and while we’re always grateful, we aren’t always prepared. If you normally find yourself scrambling at the last minute to lose a few pounds or prep for a busy summer of physical activity, sticking with a normal exercise routine year round is right for you.
Even if you do slow down a little in the winter, or even halve your normal routine, keeping active, eating right, and using supplements may be your best bet for living at your best, feeling good more of the time, and health and wellness no matter the season.