When winter blows in, you have two options: You can pull the blankets over your head and go back to sleep—or you can suit up and head out for an outdoor winter adventure!
Cooler Weather = Big Opportunity There’s no reason you need to take a break from physical activity when the temperature drops. In fact, exercising in cooler weather has some distinct advantages over working out in the warmer weather. For one, you don’t have heat and humidity to deal with. In fact, winter’s chill can make you feel awake and invigorated. Not only that, you can work out harder in the cold weather—which means you burn even more calories. Heading outside in the winter is also a great way to take in the sunlight (in small doses). Not only does light dramatically improve many people’s moods, it also helps you get the vitamin D.
Break it into 10-Minute Sessions! Whether you’re aiming for 150 minutes of moderate or 75 of vigorous exercise, you can break either down into 10-minute bouts, sprinkled throughout your day.
- walking the dog
- walking at lunch
- walking around the block after dinner
- jumping jacks, lunges and sit-ups
- dancing with your kids
- shoveling snow
- housework (constant moving)
- brisk walking at the mall before you shop (and 10 minutes after!)
Following the American Heart Association physical activity recommendations helps you:
- Cut your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
- Extend your life expectancy.
- Work toward a healthy weight (or maintain the weight you have).
- Have more energy to do the things you love.
- Sleep better.
- Enhance your mental well being.
- Be a great role model for the people in your life.
- Be ready to hit the ground running in spring!
- Gear up for swimsuit season.
Stay Warm, Stay Safe. Staying warm and dry when heading out to exercise in the cold weather is all about layers. A little preparation can keep you safe from cold weather hazards like hypothermia and frostbite. Cold temperatures, strong winds and damp conditions (like rain and snow) steal your body heat. For example, a 30-degree day with 30-mile-an-hour wind feels like about 15 degrees. And if you get wet (from rain, snow or perspiration) that effect is only magnified. That’s why layers of clothing are so important. They help trap the heat and form a kind of insulation against the elements. Resist your instinct to layer with cotton. Once cotton becomes wet with sweat, the moisture is trapped and will actually make you feel colder (and heavier). For your first layer, you want something that wicks moisture away (like the newer high-performance fabrics). Next, add a layer of fleece; finally, top with a thin waterproof layer.