With winter upon us we are presented with a myriad of fun new exercise options including skiing, snowshoeing, and maintaining training runs. Additionally, we face new challenges with changes in weather in regards to our current exercise habits. Whether you are going out for your daily walk or run, or are going for a Sunday hike, you may benefit from these suggestions to keep warm, happy, and healthy through the winter months.
-Choose a safe route, including plenty of lighting, and safe stable footing such as a path or groomed trail. Be wary of ice patches, piles of wet leaves, or rocks. If you are walking or running, you may even choose a shorter loop that is close to your home that can be performed multiple times in case you slip or get too wet. Try to plan your route in an area that provides cover from wind or excessive rain, such as a street lined with trees.
-Do a solid warm up for 5-7 minutes before your workout. This may include jogging in place in your home before you leave, walking quickly to get your core temperature up before your run outdoors, or stretching.
-Perform a brief cool down to avoid getting overly chilled following your exercise. This may include a brief stretch, or decreasing your pace gradually for the last 3-5 minutes of exercise before stopping exercise completely.
-Keep well hydrated! It is easy to become dehydrated in winter because you do not see your sweat loss as well as you would during the summer months. You may carry a water bottle with you under your layers to keep it warmer, or carry a camel back hydration system while skiing, snowshoeing, or running.
-Wear layers that can easily be removed and packed as over dressing can lead to excessive sweating and dehydration. Be sure that the layer closest to your skin is of a dry-fit material to wick sweat off of your skin. Wear gloves, a hat or ear warmer, and warm, breathable socks, as your fingers and toes are generally the first to loose blood flow and become cold.
Above all, enjoy yourself, and make your day great!
Amanda Olson, DPT