There are few excuses for skipping physical activity quite like bad weather. It is either too rainy to go for a run, too hot to get on the bike, or too cold to do much of anything at all. That last one is the biggest shame of them all because the colder months are probably some of the most prime times of the year that your body is in need of physical activity. That is because exercise is known to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, three states of mind that become more prevalent in the dark, cold, and cloud-covered winter months. Here are a few ways to get over the cold this winter and keep your body moving!
Pick the Right Time of Day
Picking the right time of day to workout in the winter is the exact opposite of the right type of day in the summer. During the hot months of the year, it is best to workout early in the morning or late in the evening, when the sun has been down for a while and the air has had the opportunity to cool down. Winter workouts are the exact opposite though. Picking the time of day when the sun is highest in the sky (even if it is hidden by the clouds) will give you the courage to get outside and brave the cold. Choosing the daytime to workout, especially if you have the option to workout outside, will give you the opportunity to spend time with the sun and in the natural world, a much needed component to surviving any winter season.
Drink Water Like its Hot Outside
One of the best pieces of advice given to athletes is that if you feel thirsty, then you are already dehydrated. This can happen at anytime of the day; before, during, or after a workout; inside or outside; and most often when you least expect it. That is why it is important, even during winter workouts, to drink water like the sun is beating down on your head. Proper hydration helps your body regulate its temperature, keeps your joints well lubricated, and helps to transport nutrients and energy throughout your body.
Take Your Cool Down Seriously
While worrying about cooling down after a winter workout may seem silly, it is actually one of the most important times to pay extra special attention to the way that your body transitions into a resting state. First of all, it is important to cool down while staying warm after working out in the cold. Keep an extra sweater or wind blazer handy that you can throw on over your workout clothes after you have a sweat. It is also important to end with a good stretch. This will help keep your muscles from cooling down too quickly and cramping up. Plan on incorporating a quick post-workout massage to help keep your muscles loose. Massage is a naturally warming experience that is both restful and active in its ability to heal your muscles after physical activity.
Most importantly, don’t use cold temperatures as an excuse to keep you on the couch and away from a regular workout routine. Exercising in the winter is a fantastic way to stay busy and out of the house during a time of the year when dark skies, short days, and cold winds can cut you to the bone both physically and emotionally. They call it cabin fever for a reason after all! Get outside and enjoy the fresh air!