Even in a warm area like San Antonio, you may need to winterize your workouts. While a low temperature like 40 to 41 degrees is like a warm spring day to someone in Minnesota, Wisconsin or Northern Indiana, it’s still chilly when you’re not used to the cold. For people in colder climates, adjusting your workout to the winter is of utmost importance and can be crucial to your health. If you workout outside, such as running in the morning, you have to take a few precautions to account for the cold.
Warming up needs to really warm you up.
In the winter, you’ll need to do more warm up exercises to insure your muscles are thoroughly warmed and ready to begin. Warming up effectively reduces your potential for injury and is far more important in the cold winter months, even though you need to do it year around. Dynamic stretching, also known as a dynamic warm-up can get your body ready for a good workout in the winter.
Dress in a lot of light layers, rather than a few bulky ones.
Layering keeps you warmer, plus as your workout continues, allows you to adjust for body heat. If you have several light layers, when you warm, you can remove a layer. Make sure the material wicks moisture away from your skin, which makes you colder and for those in a cold climate can cause hypothermia or freeze the material to your skin. Wear a hat to retain more body heat and if it’s really cold, make sure you have gloves, cover your face with a scarf and if there’s ice where you live, make sure your shoes have good traction.
Work up to working out on really cold days.
If you don’t exercise outside while the weather is turning colder, you need to pace yourself if you suddenly decide to take up running in the middle of winter. Your body needs to acclimate to the cold weather, so increasing your outside exercise time little by little is important. For those in more frigid climates, I can’t stress this enough.
- Your joints are more prone to injury when it’s cold since tendons are less elastic and tight.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Your perspiration will evaporate faster and you won’t realize how much fluid you’ll lose. If you’re running, carry a bottle of water and sip it along the way.
- Have reflective clothing when running outside. It stays dark later and gets darker earlier, so your normal schedule of exercise may take place after dark.
- Be aware of the outside temperature and on really cold days, turn to inside workouts in the gym or even in your own home.