Winter seems to be a time of year when many people fall off track from their usual fitness routines. We all know how hard it is to leave our cozy, warm beds and venture out into the frosty, cold morning air so that we can make it to the gym before we start our days. Not to mention that by the time our work or school days are over, daylight has already started to slip away and it's tempting to just skip out on heading to the gym for a workout.
For those that suck it up and stick to their fitness routines no matter the temperature outside or the amount of daylight we have - we applaud you; However, are you taking the proper steps to ensure a safe and effective winter workout?
We've got a few tips that will not only help motivate you to get in shape this winter, but that will help you get the most out of your winter workout!
Warming Up 101
Warming up should be a part of every one of your workouts, no matter the weather. Light stretching and aerobic exercise stimulates the circulatory system and gets the heart pumping blood to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This allows the body to become more flexible for your workout.
Warming up before working out is especially important in the winter because it will prevent you from injuring yourself. If you jump straight into a morning run or head over to the weight rack while your body is still cold, you are at risk for tearing your muscle tissues. If you warm up beforehand, your body is ready to take on vigorous physical activities and will not be strained.
The place where you choose to warm up plays an important role in motivating you to get a move on! It is much easier to get yourself motivated to head outdoors for a run if you do your warm-up and stretching indoors. Heading out into the cold can be a bit of a shock, and our bodies may want to recoil back indoors for warmth. By warming up indoors and getting our heart rate going before we step outside, our bodies are more prepared to take on the cold air because they're already fired up with energy and heat.
When working out in cold weather, it's important to wear layers. Layering up will allow you to have more control over your body temperature. As your heart rate speeds up and your body begins to get warmer, you can shed layers of clothing to adjust to your temperature change.
Always remember to wear a hat, gloves, and thick socks when exercising outdoors. To be safe, you should also wear bright colors or a reflector on your jacket if you will be running alongside traffic or by and roads. This is especially important to do in the winter because of the fact that it gets darker earlier and drivers may have a hard time seeing you.
Avoid wearing cotton clothing because it tends to become wet with sweat. This makes it stick to your skin, which may make you chilly or uncomfortable.
While this applies to any time of the year, nothing can motivate you to workout more than buying a fresh new pair of running sneakers or a super sleek new gym outfit can. If you treat yourself to some new workout gear, you're going to be excited about it and motivated to put it on and go workout. So go for it!
Keep Your Goals In Mind
Working out will become a heck of a lot easier if you remember WHY you're doing it. Winter time is a great season to set a fitness goal for yourself because by the time it becomes warmer outside and we start showing more skin, you will already be seeing results of the work you put in during the winter months.