Objects in motion stay in motion; objects at rest stay at rest. This law is valid for more than just understanding motion; it also applies to the exercise of the body. Taking a winter break may shield you from the winter wind and snow, but it will definitely plow through your motivation, progress, and overall growth. Rather than wait for 4-6 months to pass before getting back in the swing of fitness, utilize these tips and plan for an active winter season.
Dress Dry, Not Warm
If this is your first run at winter exercise, this tip may seem a bit counterproductive. However, the quickest way to lose body heat in the winter is by getting wet, and there is no avoiding sweat. Getting wet will not only dramatically impact your workout, but it will also increase the likelihood that your exercise time will be cut short, increase your risk for hypothermia, and– in freezing conditions, increase your chance of getting frostbite.
Layer the Right Fabrics
Not all activewear is made equal. Cotton, for example, soaks up wetness and holds moisture, whereas nylon and polyester are designed to dry quickly. Stick to synthetic fibers for a warmer, more enjoyable run. Your layers will depend on the weather, but there is an overall agreed upon method to layering:
- A thin synthetic base layer
- For frigid temperatures, a polar fleece works as a middle layer.
- The outer layer, or shell, is to protect you from wind, snow, and rain. However, it is essential to note that the more water-repellant your outer shell is, the less it allows sweat to escape, regardless of your base layer.
Opt for Bright Colors
Chances are you can guess why brighter colors are the right option: visibility. With the winter cold comes daylight savings, which means it’s likely to be darker when exercising. It is also beneficial to use wearable flashlights to not only help others see you but also to protect yourself from missteps or falls.
Protect Your Extremities
Everyone knows that ears, fingers, and feet need protection in the winter weather. For your ears, find ear muffs, a hat or headband; for your hands, gloves or mittens will do the trick; and for your feet, there are two options: thick socks or shoe covers to conserve heat. It may also be worth looking into synthetic briefs to keep your entire body warm and moisture-free.
Check Your Traction
This is especially important when it rains or snows in the winter. With any of those elements present, the chances of slipping on ice dramatically increases. Avoid this by staying on plowed or salted surfaces. If you don’t have the luxury, attach snow or ice spikes to your running shoes to reduce the risk of falls. However, the spikes are designed for snow and ice, so they will not be balanced on paved surfaces. *Note: Unpaved roads and trails can hide holes and other obstacles, which may lead to ankle injuries or more.