Top 8 Tips for Exercise in Cold Weather

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Heather’s dream is to share with the world her success at becoming healthy after age 40. Heather lost over 88 pounds through changing her diet and incorporating exercise into her busy life. She would like to take what she has learned about becoming fit after 40, and using her Metabolic Training Certification to help others struggling with weight issues mid-life. Heather’s post day is Monday.
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Stay warm - Exercise in cold weather!

Your dream to get fit does not take a break for less-than-warm weather. At least it shouldn’t! As your fitness dreamer and expert on being cold, no matter what the temperature outside, I can tell you this will be a challenge for those looking to keep their fitness routines outside.

For all of my dreamers who are currently looking out their windows at a snowy landscape, you have my permission to laugh at my complete wimp status in getting cold. My version of cold may not be anywhere close to what your version is, but I do have a to share how I learned a few painful lessons.

My own direct experience with being cold came on the morning of my first triathlon. The spring time temperature in lovely wine country Napa is chilly and in the 40’s. I knew that the swim would suck the heat out of me, and the rest of the race would be spent getting back to a normal body temperature.

I spent the next few hours wondering if I would ever regain feeling in my fingers and feet.

The race taught me a lot about the right degree of body heat I needed to keep going without being distracted. I did finally regain the feeling in my fingers after the bike ride, and my feet about the time I was crossing the finish line.

I am a little challenged in the staying warm department. Reynauds Disease has an impact on being able to feel your extremities in cold weather, and I learned the hard way how best to manage keeping the feeling in my hands and feet when out in the cold.

The benefit you are getting from keeping your outdoor fitness plan on track will out weigh any impact your have for being cold. I promise.

Top 8 tips for exercise in cold weather

1. Cold weather can make you run faster

It’s not only because you may want to make your workout fast so you can get back into the warmth. It’s actually easier on our bodies to run in the chilly fall and winter months than to regulate our temperature while exercising in the heat of summer.

2. Pick the right workout wear

This may sound like a no-brainer, but simply adding layers may not help you get through your outdoor workout. Choosing the right fabrics are a must. Clothing that wick away moisture have an advantage over cotton once you start to sweat. Wearing wet cotton on a cold day will only make your workout uncomfortable.

3. Cover up

Keeping all exposed skin covered will go a long way in keeping your body heat where you need it. In areas where the temperature dips below freezing, a hat and gloves are a must. The more skin you expose, the faster your body will lose heat.

4. Layer it on

Your choice of another thein layer will be much easier to manage than oen thick layer once you are out there. It’s easy to slowly strip off thin layers once you start to warm up, than lug around that thick sweatshirt for the rest of your workout.

5. Make in shorter

I don’t mean your workout of course! Instead of taking that long run that takes you miles away from home, try a shorter route that you can loop. This keeps you close to home in an emergency, and you will be able to react faster if the weather turns worse.

6. Watch those corners

The beautiful reason for outdoor fitness is the change in scenery which can mean those shaded areas are hiding black ice. Take your time in super cold and wet weather, especially when you change directions or take corners.

7. Make sure someone knows where you are going

Let someone know your planned route and when they can expect you back. Safety in any weather is vital to outdoor fitness, but winter weather can be dangerous and change quick depending on your locale.

8. Stay hydrated

You may not remember to keep hydrated if you don’t feel hot and sweaty. Trust me, taking in the same amount of liquid is important regardless of the outside temperature. You are still making your body work, so be sure to give it back what it needs during your workout.

Getting out and plan your exercise in cold weather to get fit.

Want some more tips on staying warm while you get fit in the winter months? This article from the Mayo Clinic offers advice on keeping safe for cold weather exercise.

If you run or walk long distances in the cold, you most likely have water or snacks to fuel you along the way. This article has some great tips on keeping your fuel from freezing, even though you may feel like you are.

Will you be attempting to get out and exercise in cold weather for your fitness dream this week? Share in the comments!

Go get your fit on – Heather

  • This is where you completely move into the bad-ass class because I do not like working out in the cold. I’ll take my indoor classes for 100 please….

    Now, I realize that I am sensitive to cold because of my thyroid condition, but the idea of going outside when the lawn is white and you can see your breath makes me want to crawl back under the covers and sleep for six months!

    I can see where cold weather would make you run faster because half way out you’re thinking, “What in the #@%$^*!! am I doing running out here in this? It’s #$%&^!!! cold!” and you are uber-motivated to race back to your warm house or a car with a great heater.

    But this also says how motivated you are to be doing this. Simply amazing.


    • Ha! Had to pull myself back into my chair after reading this :) How did you know what I say when I’m running in cold weather? It’s like you know me!

      Thanks Cath!