It can be hard enough to just wake up and get out of the house in the morning when it's cold, dark, and snowy outside. It's even more difficult to get motivated when you're trying to fit in a workout!
It may be chilly outside (or downright frigid), but staying on top of your exercise routine through the winter months means you'll be able to stay strong when spring finally arrives.
Tips for Exercising Outdoors in the Winter
Turn on a light, drink some water, and (gently) fuel your body.
Getting bright light in the room first thing will wake up your brain, as it helps to suppress the hormone that helps regulate sleep (melatonin). Drinking a big glass of water in the morning will also get your cells perked up - it has been shown to work even better than a cup of coffee! It's pretty uncomfortable to exercise on a full stomach, but eating a spoonful of peanut butter or a handful of nuts before your workout can provide a nice burst of energy.
Wear the right kinds of clothing, and always layer.
The layer closest to your skin should be something synthetic that will wick moisture away from your body. Cotton fabrics will just absorb sweat, and once it cools you'll end up colder than when you started. The second layer should be fleece or wool to help insulate your core, and the final outer layer should ideally be light, breathable, and waterproof.
Find a buddy.
Planning to meet a friend ahead of time will give you a little extra motivation to get outside and exercise. You'll be held accountable, and you may feel safer jogging with a buddy when it's darker in the morning or evening. No friends available? Line up an audiobook or podcast for the morning so that you're excited to listen to it!
Start off slow, and acclimate your body to the cold weather.
Before beginning your workout, stretch thoroughly, and slowly work your way up to a normal pace. It may take your muscles a little longer to warm up in the cold, and taking it easy in the beginning will help reduce the risk of injury.
Know when to take it indoors.
If the wind chill is below zero, do your workout in a gym or in the living room. Exposed skin can get frostbitten within 30 minutes of being exposed to these low temperatures, and its not worth the risk.
[Credit: Schwecherl, Laura. When is it Too Cold to Exercise? Greatist.]