Hints for Exercising in the Winter

College of DuPage Nursing Student Julia Walczak shared that whether you are a seasoned athlete or a busy adult trying to fit a bit of exercise in your hectic lifestyle, learning how to consistently exercise during these cold winter months is a good idea to get you out there and moving while making sure you don’t freeze.

Performing the same exercise during the winter as that performed during warmer months may actually burn more fat, according to recent research by Dr. Shephard at the University of Toronto’s Medical School. Although it takes about 10 days to acclimate to the cold weather, according to Dr. Shephard, so don’t rush into it too quickly!

 “The 2008 Scottish Health Survey,”a government survey done by the Scottish Government that had supported the hypothesis for an increased mental and emotional well-being being associated with exercising outside found that  running outside is more beneficial to mental and emotional well being than indoor running on a treadmill.

A few tips for exercising in the cold:

  1. Dress right! – Wearing layers is the most important way to control your warmth, since you can always remove any extras.

Recommended garments include:

  • Running tights
  • A long sleeve base layer shirt
  • Warm socks – either wool or synthetic
  • A windproof jacket and waterproof pants
  • Gloves/Mittens
  • Either a hat or headband to cover your ears
  • A scarf or mask to cover your face.

In addition to these garments, any number of layers can be added such as, sweaters, heavier weight shirts and pants until you feel comfortable exercising outside. The goal is to dress warm enough to feel slightly cold when you step outside, so you are comfortable during exercise; if you are too warm you can simply remove layers off to prevent excessive sweating.

  1. If Going to the Gym Bring an Extra Set of Clothing!

If you decide to go for a run outside before a gym session, make sure to bring an extra set of clothing! Especially because your body will have to warm up faster due to the cold and you may perspire more. The clothing you wore for your outdoor run may also be too warm for the climate of the gym so plan accordingly!

  1. Listen to the Weatherman!

You may not necessarily want to go for a run during a blizzard or in below freezing temperature. Make sure to keep an eye out for local weather information and use your best judgment to decide whether today is a good day to exercise outside.

If you have certain medical conditions that can be made worse in the cold or dry winter air, you may want to rethink running outside. Some days it may be better to do your workout inside.

  1. Don’t slip!

Keep a vigilant eye out for things you normally would during the warmer weather, such as motor vehicle traffic and dangerous conditions in addition to keeping in mind things specific to the cold, such as ice! Black ice can especially be dangerous during the cold months so if you notice a surface is glistening and shiny, be extra vigilant!


Disclaimer: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. Please use good judgment when deciding whether the weather is appropriate for exercise outside.





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