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December 21, 2020

The Ultimate Cold Weather Fitness Guide

Does cold weather have you questioning your fitness goals? With temperatures dropping, snow falling, and gusty winds, your workout routine may be changing. Exercising during the cold months can be tough. Not only is it cold, but the shorter days make it more difficult to wake up early or come home late to get your sweat on. There are many ways to keep active during this chilly season, whether you plan to workout inside or outside. It’s very important to keep up a workout routine, especially as the cold and flu season approaches. The Center for Disease Prevention says just a few minutes a day can help prevent simple bacterial and viral infections.

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Tips for Exercising Outdoors:

The good news is, you can still get a good workout in frigid temperatures. In fact, some experts say working out in the cold is actually beneficial. It exposes you to small doses of sunlight, which helps the body synthesize vitamin D, important for bone and immune health. Some experts believe you can workout for longer because you don’t have to fight heat or humidity. Plus, the cold air can perk you up and give you an energy boost. A win-win for overall health!

Here are a few cold weather activities to try:

  • Snowshoeing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Downhill skiing and snowboarding
  • Brisk walking, hiking, or jogging
  • Running or biking
  • Shoveling snow
  • Sledding

Don’t forget to bundle up with the proper gear before heading out the door. Wear several layers that can be removed as needed. Wet clothes from sweat can drain body heat, so be mindful of how much you’re sweating. Wool is an excellent material to wear because it maintains body heat even when wet. Cotton is not a great choice because it absorbs sweat. Nylon and synthetic materials are helpful for both maintaining body temperature and fighting wind chill. 

Tips for Exercising Indoors:

If there’s a blizzard outside or you’re just not a fan of the brisk weather, consider an indoor workout. The best part is you don’t have to go anywhere. You can workout in the basement, garage, or even your bedroom. All you need is yourself and maybe dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, or a few heavy books if you’re looking to add some intensity.

Here are some free indoor workout ideas:

  • YouTube or Amazon Prime: Free workouts are the best kinds. If you’re tight on time and money, consider searching your favorite kind of workout on YouTube or Prime Video. So many fitness professionals have started their own channels, featuring yoga, pilates, HIIT, Zumba, and much more. You can even find walking in-place or stair workouts
  • Phone or Tablet Apps: Skimble Workout Trainer & Fitness Coach, Nike Training Club, Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer, and Home Workouts - No Equipment are a few popular ones to name. With so many options, you can fit your favorite workouts into your own schedule.
  • Daily Chores: Bump up the intensity of your daily chores. Listen to upbeat music while vigorously scrubbing the shower, dance when putting away the dishes, or see how quickly you can vacuum the entire house. 

Whether you plan to workout inside, outside, or a combination of both, a consistent exercise routine is very beneficial for overall health. It will boost mood, improve cardiovascular fitness, prevent chronic disease, and strengthen the immune system. Aim for 150 minutes per week of physical activity, or make movement a priority three to five days per week. Choose an exercise routine you enjoy, you’re more likely to stick with it if you’re having fun!

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