Outdoor winter workout programs may not seem enticing. Yet we also see a lot of people initiate exercise as part of their new year resolution, but unfortunately it’s short lived. Cold weather is the time most people slack on their fitness goals.
Cold Weather Workouts
Derek Maxfield of MA-area Fitness Together and certified personal trainer, is encouraging his clients to embrace and endure cold temperatures to bring you closer to your new year and decade fitness goals. Plus if you didn’t know, you burn more fat working out in the cold than in the heat as your body is working extra hard to keep you warm.
Cooler weather allows you to push your limits and strengthen areas of your workout which you overlook in warmer months:
- strengthening your heart for greater blood distribution throughout the body
- including warm-ups and cool-downs
- building tolerance to adversity creating new opportunities for yourself
Winter Workout Programs Strategies
Speaking from a place of experience, I can tell you first hand that working out outside in the cold is intimidating. Here are some strategies to overcome that.
Activities You Enjoy
To build up tolerance to the cold, choose an activity you enjoy and go outside. Have you ever been skating, snowshoeing, winter biking or cross-country skiing? Find your local rental shops and take your family, even your pets, on a new adventure at a local park. Even trail walking is a great exercise for winter.
Reverse how you perceive the cold weather. Instead of thinking how cold you might feel at first, think of how many extra calories you’re able to burn in the cold as the body works against the cold to regulate its temperature.
Another great way to stay motivated is to find a workout group that’s active in the winter months. Local groups organize outdoor workouts on almost every single day of the week at various times. There are running, HIIT workouts, skating hiking and skiing groups all of which are free to join.
You can find some of them on Facebook or even your local gym or community centres.
Warm-ups & Cool-down Exercises
Rehabilitation exercises and stretches generally help to avoid getting hurt during workouts in colder weather or for any winter-time activity, such as shovelling snow. In addition to keeping active overall, exercises like bird dogs, back extensions, planks, squats, and hip lifts are helpful, ensuring the core, hips, and lower back are healthy for movements like shovelling.
Unless you’re skiing or snowboarding, you don’t need a full on snowsuit. However, it is essential to ensure you have the right amount and type of gear on to trap the heat so you stay warm. In addition, if you’re on snowy terrain, shoes are probably more important than what you have on your shoulders.
Here are a few things to help you get started:
A hat or at least a headband will keep your head warm to avoid getting headaches as you’re exerting energy
Thermal socks are great to keep your toes from freezing.
Another very important piece to ensure you remain warm is a jacket that is just the right thickness. You don’t want something that will hinder you from movement:
The key to staying warm is wearing a sweater underneath your jacket, allowing you to wear a lighter jacket so you can move freely.
Wearing an absorbent undershirt as a baselayer is a great way to layer on and stay warm without causing you any difficulties in movements
Like I said this may be the most important piece if you are on slippery terrain. You don’t need crazy cleats or spikes on your shoes to ensure you have a solid grip but something that has good traction will make you go a long way. I like Saucony’s for this type of weather because they are anti-slip. The best part if you can also wear them in the warmer months when working out outside or going on hikes. The outsole is quite versatile and works for different terrains:
The Gist of it
Winter workout programs are great to stay healthy and motivated in the colder months. It’s also a wonderful way to stay connected with peers and family members. It’s a good way to challenge yourself and push your limits and making the winter pass by faster.
What are your workout programs strategies for the winter?
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