Tips For Outdoor Exercise During The Chilly Winter Months
With a lot of gyms closed and the weather turning even colder and wetter it’s all too easy to spend our time sat on the sofa watching Netflix and eating our body weight in Pringles and chocolate. However, we all know we’ve got to keep moving for our mental, as well as our physical, wellbeing. So, to help us get motivated to get out there we asked India, Head of Cycle at Core Collective for some important tips to ensure that working out during the winter months is both effective, and safe.
1) Dress for the job:
If you aim to workout outside, it’s important that you don’t just dress up warm, you need to make sure that the clothing you are selecting is meant for exercising and is quick dry, since you will be sweating. Quick-dry options are paramount, and you do not want to lose body temperature as you get wet. Do not forget gloves or proper socks as it’s important to protect your extremities and exposed skin. Be mindful of the weather conditions and avoid going outside if it is too cold. If you do go outside and find that after a certain period of time your body starts to shiver intensely, or you have slurred speech / your coordination is compromised, head back indoors to warm up as these can be signs of hypothermia.
2) Fuel, fuel, fuel.
Regardless of the activity you aim to pursue outdoors, proper fuelling and nutrition is key! Why? To sustaining energy levels, increase endurance, promote recovery and help in building optimal health so that you can continue working towards your goals.
What to eat? Carbs are the best fuel for your muscles, they deliver energy faster and more efficiently than say fat or protein. Without these carbs, your body’s ability to exercise at high intensities will be compromised, and the product of this will be that you will ultimately fatigue quicker. Ensure this is done with enough time in between your meal and exercise so you can properly digest your food – around 2 hours before is ideal. However, if you don’t have enough time, then a quick snack which is carb-rich around 30 mins to an hour before your exercise is preferred, such as an energy bar even some organic peanut butter on toast will do.
3) H2o it up
For me, I tend to be a little less thirsty in winter months, especially when outside. However, you are still losing fluids as you sweat and breathe during exercise in lower temperatures, these fluids ultimately still need to be replaced. So be mindful of this if you find you are not as thirsty and make a conscious effort to drink before and during if you can.
4) Warm up, Cool Down:
We want to make sure we are always warming our bodies up properly and thoroughly, to increase body temperature and warm up our muscles and joints effectively for the exercise you will be embarking on. Since it is cold, the effects of this on the body are very noticeable and act as a natural force to counteract any increase in body temperature. Even running through a proper mobility warm-up indoors before hopping on a bike or lacing up to commence your pre-workout warm-up is a good addition to your routine.
5) Personal Motivation
What will help you stay motivated? It’s cold outside, your heater is now your best friend but you know you will always feel better when you just Get. Out. There. So, find a friend, make a plan and hold each other accountable to get outside. You can work towards challenges together or check in regarding each of your personal goals through fitness apps. Progression check in’s are very important and they will help you stay on track — it’s also great for some friendly competition. Setting goals is crucial. You can also set location goals, distance goals, or explore a new area in your neighbourhood to add some newness into your routine.
Another tip? Too keep things interesting, get creative! You can look to use outdoor props such as logs, benches or trees to incorporate into your workout.