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How to Play it Safe During Your Winter Workouts

Helen Bush

You may have noticed that the temperatures have already started dropping. Winter is on its way, and this means you have to rethink your workout plans. There are many new obstacles you may face with your outdoor workout routine that you did not have to worry about in the summer. Many of us may want to hide inside for the rest of the season, but there are still a lot of us who long for the great outdoors and like to take advantage of the cooler temperatures. We need to remember that it can be fun to venture outdoors, but we need to play it safe and be prepared for these extreme temperatures. There are a few things that you can do to make your outdoor workout a little more enjoyable and easier on your body.



Know your route

You should always plan your route ahead of time, but in the winter, it can be a necessity. You want to be aware of your surroundings and know where every hole or patch of ice may be. Of course you should always opt for paths that are well lit and regularly traveled, and if you live where it snows a lot, you will want to seek out pathways that are plowed and kept up regularly. Black ice is also a hazard for those who enjoy outdoor winter workouts. It can be hard to see black ice, but if you are familiar with the area, you may be more aware of where it could be or tends to be, which can help you avoid a nasty fall.


Don't forget the warm up

The warm up is the perfect time in any workout to help prepare your body for the workout ahead. It can also help our bodies prepare for the harsh cold that awaits us. Before you rush out that door for your afternoon jog, remember to prepare yourself. You need to get your body warm prior to exposing it to outside elements. You should walk or jog indoors for at least five minutes to help get your core temperature up and get your body ready for the workout ahead.


Take little steps

When you begin your winter workout, try not to overestimate your abilities. Just because you were running five miles in the summer, does not mean you should expect the same results in the winter. Your body reacts differently to the cold and has to work harder. This means you may not be able to achieve the same results, so you should try to do about half as much as before. You do not want to overdo it and end up stopping to catch your breath. Once you stop, you will notice your body temperature dropping, and you do not want to get hypothermia. It would be even far worse if you were miles from home and out of breath in the cold. So, play it safe and take small steps in the beginning to give yourself the chance to learn your limits.


Stay hydrated

It is easy to notice how much we are sweating in the summer, but in the winter, it can be a little trickier. Your may not notice how much you are sweating under all those layers, but you can rest assured that even in the winter you are sweating. So, you need to pay more attention to hydrating yourself because it would feel horrible becoming weak and dehydrated in the cold. You may need to keep your water bottle under your clothes or close to your skin to keep it from freezing, but you definitely need to take some water with you during your winter workouts.


Switch up your schedule

You may love starting your day off with a morning run or ending your day with an evening, but during winter, these are some of the coldest times. It may be frustrating having to change up your workout schedule, but it could help you stay a little safer and warmer during those cold runs. If you can hold off until the mid-afternoon, the temperatures will have warmed up and the pathways are more likely to be plowed. This means the best time to enjoy your run may be a little later or earlier than you are used to, but it can help you be safer and more comfortable in the long run.

It can be difficult trying to maintain your fitness routine in the winter. The cold can make us want to stay under our blankets a little longer and safely hide in our nicely heated homes. However, if you can find the willpower to venture outside, you just might discover that the weather is not as bad as you once thought it was.