As summer winds down and the autumn weather turns the leaves into beautiful colors, it can only mean one thing. That winter will soon be upon us! If your workout routine is dependent upon a mild climate, you’ll need to make some adjustments to account for Mother Nature’s change. Whether you’re an avid runner, serious walker or love to bike, there’s a perfect way for you to transition to working out in cold weather.
Working Out In Cold Weather
Don’t Fear The Weather!
A cold climate is no excuse for putting an exercise routine on pause! One of the most common mistakes that outdoor exercise buffs make is not dressing appropriately for their workouts. Due to this, many get discouraged and assume that it is just time to stop working out until spring arrives. It’s natural to adapt to the weather as blood starts pumping and you get in the groove. This doesn’t mean that it’s wise to start a workout feeling cold or to think that overheating is a normal occurrence. How can you beat the bipolar body heat situation? Layers! Start with a long sleeve compression type shirt and layer from there.
Next, you may want to choose a waterproof jacket which can block the rain away and softens the blows of wind. Similar windbreaker style pants are also a good idea. Invest in a running hat and pair of gloves to keep your fingers relaxed and loose. Get hot? Take off the jacket and tie it around your waist. An extra pro tip – as the temperature sinks, ski mittens will likely keep you warmer over runner’s gloves.
Some of us just aren’t made for working out in cold weather. Sadly, it isn’t realistic for us to jet set to a sunny island in paradise either. This is completely OK! Read on to see how you can continue to workout indoors.
Focus on Data
Many avid exercisers place a heavy focus on data points to track their progress. Heart rate monitors, pedometers, distance and speed trackers are some of their favorite tools. Runners can take to the treadmill to work on lowering their distance times and overall endurance improvement. There’s something to be said for having a machine that can keep you consistent on speed! Track these metrics and set goals for yourself. When the weather turns around, take your routine back outdoors and put yourself to the test. Are you up for the challenge to maintain your progress
Treadmills are Friends, Not Foes!
While the thought of exercising on a treadmill sounds terrible, you have our permission to sweeten the experience by binge watching a TV series or digging into a new novel. This is one of the perks that the great outdoors just can’t provide. Go slow and crank up the incline for a workout that’s sure to burn calories without the strain and intensity of running. Bikers will appreciate the value of a stationary bike. Opt for one that features a traditional seat, or turn your own bike into a stationary one with the help of an accessory tool made to do just that. Follow workout programs that set the resistance to an uphill burn or a mix of different inclines. That’s not always something that you can achieve working out in cold weather outdoors!
Master Fitness Programs
Similar to the idea of getting comfortable with a treadmill, consider joining an online fitness program. These programs are a modern take on the workout videos your parents and grandparents used to love. Revitalized programs offer a chance to interact with the instructor and get moving in fun and encouraging ways. Joining a gym is of course always an option, but may come with a cost that might not be budget friendly. Most gyms require a 6-12 month contract which is probably not be something you’re comfortable with committing to.
Utilize Indoor Options
Working out in cold weather can be tough so get creative! Head to your local mall as soon as they open or slightly before hours. Doors are typically open up to 2-3 hours before mall opening to allow employees and vendors to prepare for the day ahead. Therefore, you can use the vast indoor space to get a run in and the benches throughout to stretch or do modify crunches on. Just like you would outdoors! Chances are, you won’t be alone in your workout efforts. “Mall walkers” are found all across the world. Local town and county community centers offer public access to their facilities and free trial classes for yoga, Pilates, spin, and martial arts are abundant.
Crack Down on Your Diet
Many of the year’s most important holidays fall within the period of colder weather. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and the New Year are all festive occasions that call for celebration. If your workout routine is highly dependent on beautiful weather, this is the perfect time to crack down on your diet. All of those holidays call for parties and gatherings with friends, family, and coworkers. The temptation will be everywhere! Yummy homemade cookies, tasty turkey, and coveted family recipes will all make an appearance on the dining room table.
Nutritionists and fitness trainers note that if weight loss is your goal, your diet should be about 80% of your efforts. Exercise becomes a higher priority as you get closer to your weight goal. Analyze your average diet and work to incorporate more protein and fiber. In addition you can check out our article on foods that could be making you feel sluggish as well. Nothing kills your motivation to start a workout more than your body’s longing to take a nap.
Take the cold weather as a unique growth challenge instead of a roadblock. You’ll pick up new healthy habits over the winter and learn more about your body and the goals you’d like to reach. Smart eating habits help you to feel good about yourself and avoid the seemingly inevitable weight gain that comes with the holiday season. Use the extra time to think about the upcoming outdoor exercise season and envision yourself achieving the goals you’ve set. Also remember that exercise as a whole is a process. Transitioning doesn’t happen overnight, therefore it may take time to adjust to the drastic environment difference.