By Kori Hudson, MedStar Health
Photo: CC via Bing
February 2, 2022 (San Diego) -- Punxsutawney Phil has spoken - we can expect six more weeks of winter! It’s true - cold and dark days mean you’re more likely to spend time hibernating in bed instead of going on an early run - but a good workout session is always a good idea. Exercise helps release endorphins and maintains muscle mass. The benefits are especially noticeable for those who suffer from SAD; exercise has been shown to help alleviate symptoms during these dark, cold months.
Do an Indoor Warmup
Before enjoying the great outdoors, do a warmup inside of at least 15 minutes. This exercise will warm your muscles, raise your body temperature and get a little sweat going. Make sure you stretch after your workout too, until your heart rate drops to its resting rate.
Keep Your Extremities Warm
It’s important to keep your head, ears, hands and feet well covered when you exercise outdoors. A thick beanie or headband is easy to take off if you get hot and paired with gloves and thick socks, you’ll stay cozy in the cold. Remember good footwear for slippery sidewalks.
Wear Lots of Layers
If you’re planning to go on an outdoor run or walk, layer your clothing. Start with a base layer that will keep you warm and wick away sweat, then keep adding layers depending on the temperature outside.
When it is extra cold outside, stick to a 30-to-60 minute workout depending on your fitness level, and increase your workout time gradually. This approach helps ensure that your heart and body have time to adapt to the cold weather while you exercise.
Although you may not sweat as much in the cold air, staying hydrated is key to a good workout. Make sure to drink lots of fluids before and after your workout, as dehydration may be difficult to spot during the cold weather and could negatively affect your cardiovascular system.
Please feel free to share these tips with your readers, crediting them to Dr. Hudson MedStar Health. If you’d like to know more about how to stay fit during winter, I would love to connect you with Dr. Hudson or one of our other sports medicine physicians.