With bikini season a far off memory and the winter chill setting in, your motivation to train may be waning, but it’s no reason to let your workout programme go into hibernation!
You will be faced with times when it’s cold, dark and wet outside, but with these tried and trusted tips you’ll make the best of your winter training. And you’ll be glad you did come spring time.
1. Avoid extreme temperatures
Not only are the cold temperatures harder on the body, but they can also affect your workout because your muscles take added strain against the weather. So, as much as you love outdoor training, opt to exercise indoors this winter if the weather is too extreme. If you’re a runner find an indoor track or make the treadmill your new best friend. Hit a spinning class if you cycle or use the time to boost your strength and power in the weights section.
2. Dress the part
Always dress as if it’s slightly warmer than the actual temperature outside. This will ensure that you don’t overheat when your core temperature starts to rise during training. Be sure to buy fit-for-purpose winter outdoor training gear, as these garments have been specifically designed to limit heat loss and keep you dry with moisture wicking technology. Avoid cotton at all costs because it doesn’t allow the skin to breathe adequately.
3. Warm up
The colder the temperature outside the longer your warm-ups need to be. Jump in a hot shower to get the blood flowing before an early morning run and keep your stretching and warm-up routine indoors. Take a run up and down the stairs or do a few walking lunges. And spend a bit more time ensuring those cold muscles and tendons are warmed up properly before you head out.
4. Load up on H2O
Always remember to stay well hydrated, even in the cold. Most people don’t drink as much water in winter, even though they may sweat as much, if not more. They just don’t realise it as the cold weather reduces the amount of visible sweat.
5. Keep your extremities warm
When it’s cold your blood flow is directed to your core. This leaves the hands and feet more vulnerable to the cold. It is therefore important to wear gloves when exercising in cooler temperatures, and don’t forget thermal socks. As much of your body heat is lost through your head, a head garment like a lightweight fleece beanie will also help to maintain your core temperature. And don’t forget about your ears, nose and mouth as they also need protection from the cold. Ear warmers, scarves and face masks are great for covering up these vulnerable areas, especially when riding a bike.
6. Avoid sun damage
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you should forget to apply sun block. Wear sunglasses to protect the sensitive skin around the eyes and apply lip balm containing an SPF, which will protect you from chapping or wind-burn.
7. Schedule it
Set a definite time and place for every workout, and try to arrange all of your other activities around it. Keeping your workout time consistent from day to day helps to establish good habits. Not scheduling your workout means something will inevitably come up and derail your plans, which inadvertently affects your fitness.
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Co-Publisher at Maverick Media and until recently, Fitness Magazine editor. Tanja now manages multiple digital platforms, consults and create exciting campaigns and opportunities in the fitness industry. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.