Regular workout has been proven to improve our health. Aside from helping us maintain our weight and reducing cholesterol level in our body, various researches have found out that it also improves our mood, cognitive skills, sleep, and even our sex life.
The intensity, duration and frequency of exercising vary from individuals.
But in general, experts suggest that an adult should have 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of extensive aerobic activity per week.
Unfortunately, the cold weather might make us lazy and trigger our urge to skip workouts and lay on our bed instead. Or if you love working out, you might fear the hazard instead.
Here are some things that you can do to keep yourself safe while working out during the winter season.
1. Pick the optimal clothes for a winter workout
The first step is probably picking clothes that will allow you to stay dry. Jeff Galloway, a former Olympic runner and the author of Running: Getting Started, suggested synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon which dry quickly.
He also said to skip cotton-based activewear since it holds moisture for a longer time.
If you are working out outdoor, you should layer up, according to Brian Calkins, an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and the president of HealthStyle Fitness in Cincinnati.
Just like on normal attire, there should be three layers: the innermost should be the sweat-absorbing layer. The middle should be the heat insulator like polar fleece. And lastly, the outer layer should serve as your shield against the wind and snow.
And lastly, wearing bright color is highly suggested to help increase your visibility.
2. Protect Your Skin
Getting dry skin might also be discouraging your from working outside, and that is fine. However, it doesn’t mean you cannot do anything against it.
Keep yourself hydrated is the first step. Since you are working out, you should add a few more ounces. Then, apply moisturizing cream or lotion on your skin and Vaseline on more sensitive areas like the nose or ears.
Although it might look ridiculous or feel uncomfortable while working out, wearing running mask or scarf to block out the wind is also suggested.
Lastly, keep in mind that you can also get a sunburn during winter. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the snow reflects at least 80 percent of UV rays the sun emits, making you more exposed during the icy weather.
Before heading out for a workout, apply SPF 30 or high sunscreen on your skin.
3. Avoid Slippery Areas
Aside from cold-related illnesses, the winter weather also increases the risk of accidents.
When working out, stay on a salted surface to avoid slipping.
If you are planning to run or walk on a snowy or icy surface, attach ice spikes on your running shoes to improve your traction.
4. Don’t Skip Warm-up and Cooldown
Warm-up is always the first step when working out, but it is especially important during the winter season.
According to the spokesperson of the American Council on Exercise, Debi Pillarella, working out in a colder temperature increases the risk for sprains and strains.
She compared it to stretching a rubber band, which will easily snap if it is cold.
But don’t skip cooldown either no matter how tired you are.
This will help reduce post-workout soreness.
Suddenly stopping after an intense workout will also put stress on your heart, so gradually decreases your intensity instead until your heart rate normalizes.
5. Post-workout care
After cooling down, immediately change clothes. Damp clothes are great heat conductor and you will immediately feel the chill if you leave it. If possible, go for a quick warm shower before changing to clean and dry clothes.
Don’t forget to rehydrate yourself.