Ways to Stay Active in the Winter
Despite the persistent cold temperatures in Memphis, TN, there’s no need to take a break from physical activity. Embrace the cold weather to beat the winter blues and keep your energy levels high for the upcoming spring and summer. Winter exercise also comes with certain benefits.
Benefits of Staying Active in the Winter
Enhanced Caloric Burn
Exercising in the winter may boost calorie expenditure as the body works harder to regulate its temperature in colder conditions.
Cold-weather workouts have been linked to an increase in mood-boosting endorphins, helping alleviate winter blues.
Winter exercise provides an opportunity to soak in sunlight, even in small doses. Exposure to sunlight is known to improve one’s mood and contribute to the body’s production of vitamin D.
Immune System Support
Being active, even for just a few minutes each day, is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a means to boost immunity during the cold and flu season.
Outdoor Winter Activities
- Walking or hiking
- jogging or running
- raking leaves
- shoveling snow (check out this blog on PTandMe for Snow Shoveling Safety Tips)
- ice skating
If you intend to engage in outdoor exercise, consider these exercise tips beforehand to guarantee a workout that is both safe and comfortable.
Winter Exercise Tips
Dress in Layers
Layering is essential for winter workouts. Layering clothing helps regulate body temperature, keeping you warm at the start and allowing you to adjust as your body heats up throughout your workout.
Start with a thin layer of synthetic material like polypropylene to wick away sweat. Avoid cotton, as it retains moisture. In even colder conditions, add a middle layer, such as polar fleece, for enhanced insulation.
Protect Your Hands and Feet
Prevent heat loss by wearing appropriate gear for your hands and feet, as they are significant sources of body heat loss.
Even in colder weather, staying hydrated is crucial. Be sure to drink water or a sports drink before, during, and after your workout to maintain optimal hydration levels.
Begin with a thorough warm-up to prepare your muscles for the cold conditions. Given that cold weather increases the risk of muscle strains, incorporate stretching and maintain a moderate pace to enhance blood flow and flexibility.
Wear gloves, a hat, and thermal socks to protect your hands, head, and feet from the cold. These areas are more susceptible to heat loss.
Monitor Wind Chill
You should factor in wind chill when planning your workout outdoors. Wind can make the temperature feel colder, so dress accordingly to shield yourself from the wind. If it gets too extreme, consider switching to indoor workouts like walking on the treadmill.
Don’t Forget Sun Protection
Winter sun can still cause sunburn. Apply sunscreen and lip balm to shield yourself from the winter sun.
Run Into the Wind
When possible, start your run into the wind. This way, on your return, the wind will be at your back, minimizing the risk of catching a chill when you’re sweaty.
Cool Down Properly
Finish your outdoor workout with a proper cool-down to gradually lower your heart rate and prevent muscle stiffness.
If the outdoor weather is just too cold to bare, there’s no need to fret. Indoors, you have a plethora of options to stay active. From home workouts and fitness classes to indoor sports, the possibilities for indoor physical activity are diverse and accessible. Embrace the comfort of your own home while still maintaining your commitment to staying active and healthy during the winter.
Indoor Winter Activities
- Home workout classes
- Stair Climbing
- Housework such as vacuuming or sweeping
- Walking through the mall
- Roller Skating