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February 23, 2012 at 1:21 PMComments: 2 Faves: 0

Brave the Cold: 6 Tips for Winter Exercise

By Matthew More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Extreme Existence Blog Series

I don't know about you, but I dislike being outside in the winter. In my mind the best place to be is in front of the fire sipping a hot beverage and watching the snow fall OUTSIDE. It looks pretty, but it sure doesn't feel that way. Winter also marks the time of year where I forget to exercise. I move far less, and the gym just sounds like too much work. It's time to find a way to stay active during the winter.

Especially at this time of year many of us are getting sick of the cold. We also know that in Michigan it won't be going anywhere for a while. If this is the case, how do we keep our selves active?

The key is to stay warm and to stay motivated. It's a tall order, but here are some tips that ay help you stay motivated throughout the winter months.

  1. Dress appropriately. It's important to stay warm, but once you've been working out for a while you start to overheat. The answer: Layers. Start with something synthetic and breathable. Make your second layer something like fleece or wool that will soak up sweat and keep you warm and dry. Your outermost layer should be breathable as well as water and wind resistant. This will give you optimal comfort, and as your exercise continues you can shed layers if necessary. Also, it's important to avoid cotton materials, as they tend to hold water and keep you wet. Stay dry. Stay warm. Stay comfortable.
  2. Protect your skin. Even though it’s winter, your skin is still susceptible to the sun, so make sure to use sunscreen. It’s also good to cover your ears, hands, and even your face depending on the weather. Taking these precautions can help against frostbite and sunburn, so you can focus on your workout.
  3. Drink fluids. Winter air is incredibly dry, so it is important to keep yourself hydrated. Drink lots of water so you don’t dry out. Even if you aren’t sweating or don't feel thirsty, you should still drink regularly.
  4. Warm up. When it’s cold, your muscles will need a little more convincing before they’ll work for you. If you start to work out right away, you may hurt yourself, so make sure your whole body is nice and warm before you go out. Do this by stretching, taking a hot shower, or warming up your workout clothes in the dryer before you go out. Cozy and comfortable.
  5. Cool Down. This is perhaps even more important than the warm-up, because you don’t want to cool your body down too fast. Make sure to stretch and slowly wind down. You may be tempted to remove your layers, but don't be so quick to strip. Slow down and let your body cool down naturally and slowly.
  6. Try different workouts. If the treadmill has run you down, try new exercises. Find workout videos or join a gym. See what works for you. A little variety can keep your workouts fresh and engaging during an otherwise dreary time of year. You can also get a good workout by shoveling snow or finding an indoor facility for walking. The techniques you try should be enjoyable and motivating for you. You may also try inspiring yourself with a reward after your workout. Your goal is to stay motivated enough to continue your active, healthy lifestyle no matter the weather.

Summer is getting closer every day, but we've still got a ways to go. Let's get ready for the summer by getting active now, making our workouts as comfortable and interesting as possible despite the dreary weather. Through this, we can continue a healthy, active lifestyle throughout the snowy season. So lose that blanket and come exercise!

What kinds of exercises do you like to do during the winter? How do you stay active?


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Photo Credit:

Randy Pertiet, Crashmaster007

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  • Great tips, Matthew and very pertinent for this time of the season! I like #5 especially. Never thought about "cooling down" during the winter. But that makes sense, you don't want to go from very hot to very cold in a spit-second.

  • Great blog! I was doing so well with my workout routine in the fall, but I've completely gotten off track now...I should definitely start taking this advice. I never thought about not wearing cotton, but it makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the tips!

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