Though it might feel a little chilly when you step outside in the morning, the cool weather that is now upon us is actually ideal for outdoor exercise. Tom Holland, exercise physiologist, performance coach, and author of The Marathon Method says that in the cooler weather, there’s less heat stress on your body, so you can really give that workout your all. This is why there are so many marathons in October and November, because the cooler weather makes such a long race less taxing on your body (and less dangerous than racing in the summer heat).
Unlike summer running, when you’re out the door with your shorts and t-shirt, fall and winter weather can be unpredictable. Check for precipitation, temperature, and wind before you head outside. Once you know what type of weather to prepare for, it’s a good idea to dress in layers so that you can shed them if you start to get warm (or if the sun decides to come out). You might want to think about investing in non-cotton layers that will keep the moisture away from your skin as you sweat, thus keeping you dry and comfortable.
There are some great tools out there to help you decide which layers to wear if you don’t have a good gauge of your own layering needs yet. Here’s a layer-suggestion tool from Runner’s World.
You might also consider warming-up indoors with a few jumping jacks, high knees, or other exercise. This will help your body get warm enough so that you’ll be looking forward to cooling down outside instead of dreading it.
If you got into your exercise habit over the spring and summer, you’ll want to adapt those habits for the winter months. Maintaining your exercise routine during the winter will not only help you keep off the winter pounds, but could also help combat seasonal affective disorder. A 2011 Research Environmental Science and Technology study found that people who exercised outdoors reported increased energy, decreased feelings of depression, and were more likely to repeat their workouts.
In the winter, it’s all too easy to kick-back and enjoy the indulgent food of the holidays. But enjoying yourself with family and friends doesn’t have to mean forgetting the commitment you made to yourself and your health. Have a great time, and keep making your healthy choices every day to move more and eat smart.
Hydrate! Yes, we keep on saying this- because it’s important! Even though the weather is cold and you’re not going to feel as thirsty, it is still important that you hydrate before and after exercise. Drink water or a low-calorie sports drink to ensure you’re giving your body the liquids it needs to keep you healthy and energized.
If you’re looking for more evidence why cold weather running and workouts are good for you, check out this Shape Magazine article.
If working out indoors sounds more appealing, MostFit offers a great portable home fitness collection, perfect for your garage gym or living room workouts. Check out the MostFit Core Hammer, SYN Rings, Suspension Strap, Resistance Bands, Loops and Tubes, Plyo Caddy and Core Energy Anchors.