Fitness Tips for Cold Weather Workouts

As the warm weather comes to a close, I want to encourage those outdoor people who choose not to take their workouts indoors. I live in Columbus, Ohio and we tend to have some brutal winter months. However, I know that does not stop some people from working out in the cold. So, I want to offer some tips if you are thinking about joining the resilient group of people who are willing to brave the elements to continue their outdoor workouts. I also want to provide these tips as a reminder for those outdoor workers who need to shift from warm weather to cold weather workouts.

First and foremost, cold weather workouts require layers of clothing, but not just ANY clothing. You need to switch from cotton blends to synthetics. Cotton clothing is best for summer workouts. We will talk more about that when we discuss tips for summer workouts. Back to winter clothing! It is good to wear layers when you go outside to workout because as your body temperature rises, you can carefully remove the layers, and when you are finished working out, you can put the layers back on if you are still outside.

Exercising causes you to sweat, and cold temperatures cause you to lose body heat. When you sweat, your clothes get wet. Your workout clothes need to provide adequate ventilation of the sweat. Evaporation needs to happen so you don’t have wet clothes that are causing more heat loss. Your clothing needs to allow your body to give off heat during the exercise period, while retaining body heat during rest periods. You also need proper footwear that provides cushioning, support, and flexibility. The surface (ground) you are on, the intensity of your workout, and the quality of your movements will determine your requirements for appropriate footwear. Last, but certainly not least, you need to have your head covered to protect you from additional heat loss. When the rest of your body is clothed in cold weather, heat will escape through your head if it is not also covered. (Web MD)

Here are some safety tips:

  • If you start to have any symptoms of hypothermia, stop exercising and find a warm shelter to raise your body temperature. Hypothermia happens when there is a drop in body temperature below 97 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius. Symptoms include shivering, tingling, numbness in fingers and/or toes, and a burning sensation in your nose and ears. If moving to warm shelter does not improve your symptoms, seek medical attention.
  • With extreme exposure, you can experience fatigue (tiredness), lethargy (sleepiness), and possible cardiac arrest (heart attack). If extreme exposure exists, it is time to call in the emergency medical technicians (call 911).
  • Check the weather before venturing outside to workout. If the weather calls for extremely cold temperatures, stay indoors and do your workout. You can check out our other fitness tips videos for some indoor workout ideas.

Be safe out there!

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