Winter weather is upon us, which can only mean one thing: it is time to reevaluate your workout routine.
Despite cold temperatures, it is important to stick to a workout regimen during winter months. This may prevent injury as well as maintain your physical strength, flexibility, and overall health.
This article includes tips for safe and effective exercises that you can do indoors as well as outside in the cold.
Winter Warriors – Outdoor Exercise Enthusiasts
For those who prefer to exercise outside, it is important to extend the time you spend warming up and cooling down. These steps can help to protect you from injury this winter.
1) Extend Your Warm-up Time
Because colder temperatures put greater stress on joints and muscle tissue, your body has to work a bit harder to perform physical movements. Without extending your warm-up time, you could damage your muscle tissue and/or cause soreness.
Two great warm-up activities include speed walking and light exercises/stretches.
How long should you warm up? For temperatures between 0 – 10 degrees Celsius, physiotherapists recommend a 10 minute warm-up time. For each 10-degree temperature drop, add 5 more minutes to your warm-up.
2) Lengthen Your Cool-Down Time
After each outside exercise session it is important to have a cool-down period that is as long as your warm-up period. A cool-down period reduces muscle soreness and increases overall flexibility.
Warding Off Winter – Indoor Workout Experts
For people who prefer to exercise indoors during colder months, there are several ways to stay fit during the winter.
1) Join a Gym or Try a Fitness Class
Joining a gym or trying fitness classes are great ways to stay active during winter months. Not only are these activities indoors but they are often done in group settings which can help motivate you to form and stick to a workout plan.
Feeling lost or overwhelmed at the gym? Experts suggest having a plan that includes specific goals to accomplish and lays out which weight or exercise machines you will use. This may help you to avoid feeling disoriented by the vastness of the gym and help maximize your time at the facility.
Feeling distracted by white noise or conversation at the gym? Bring an iPod and earbuds with you whenever you exercise.
2) Exercise in the Comfort and Privacy of Your Own Home
At home workouts are convenient and cost-effective. Jump rope exercises, lunges, planks, exercise balls, and YouTube exercise routines are all great ways to get your body moving. Some other suggestions are watching exercise DVDs like yoga or Pilates videos. Two other great activities you can do at home are dancing and cleaning. Get creative with the space you have and create routines that appeal to you.
No matter what activity you choose, and whether you exercise indoors or outdoors this winter, it is important to include warm-up and cool-down times in your workout routine. This may prevent muscle damage and cultivate flexibility that can keep you injury-free all winter long.