Healthy Lifestyle

Cold-weather workout tips

Workouts are a part of many people's daily routines. Some look forward to their exercise sessions, while others only commit after finding ways to make them as enjoyable as possible. For people who don't enjoy working out indoors, finding ways to exercise in the great outdoors can provide the incentives necessary to commit to daily workouts.

Exercising outdoors is a great way to get some fresh air, but what about those days when the weather isn't so inviting? Lengthy periods of cold or inclement weather, which is common in fall and winter in many parts of the world, can interrupt daily routines and derail one's fitness goals. However, there are ways to overcome inclement weather so outdoor workouts can be enjoyed year-round.

• Warm up for longer periods of time. Muscles typically require more time to warm up in cold weather than they do in warm weather. The Canadian Chiropractic AssociationTM notes that many people feel as though there muscles are noticeably stiffer in cold weather than in warm weather. This can make people who exercise in such weather more vulnerable to musculoskeletal injuries. One way to reduce that risk is to warm up for longer periods of time than you might in warm weather. For example, runners might want to walk slowly outdoors for several minutes before they begin jogging. Doing so can loosen and warm up muscles that are naturally stiff in cold weather.

• Dress appropriately. The gear outdoor exercise enthusiasts wear can go a long way toward making cold weather workouts more enjoyable and safe. Layering clothing during cold weather workouts allows people to maintain steady body temperatures throughout a workout by removing layers as they heat up if they need to. Even though it's cold, your body will still sweat, so look for a wicking material that draws moisture away from your body. This is especially important for your core, as the outdoor recreation retailer The North Face® notes that blood pulls toward the chest and abdominal area, making this the warmest part of your body. Focus on keeping the extremities, including fingers, toes and nose, warm with materials like gloves and tall socks. Face masks can be helpful to cover the nose and neck, but make sure they're made from breathable materials that won't hold moisture.

• Reconsider your footwear and other support to improve balance. Frozen ground is not as easy to traverse as unfrozen ground, so look for footwear that provides added traction. Winter running shoes that come with studded soles might be necessary. Trekking poles also can help hikers gain traction on frozen or snow-covered trails.

Outdoor workouts don't have to end when the weather gets cold. A few simple tricks can help people exercise outdoors throughout the year.

Portsmouth Daily Times