Tips for Training During Winter

October 28, 2015
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Description: Eager to train even during the cold months? Remember to follow these tips.

It’s almost Autumn in certain parts of the world, and winter should come in a matter of months. The heat of the summer has long been gone, and with colder nights it can be a struggle for you to train. You may find it difficult to drag yourself out of your bed, and face wind and rain on the streets to run or work out.

It’s understandable why you would want to hibernate during winter. Obviously, training in cold weather takes a lot out of your body than training during the summer. Unless you are a hockey player, snow boarder or skier, it is safe to say that you don’t really look forward to cold weather training. Cold weather exercise also has its risks like hypothermia, frost bite, and even heart attack.

On the other hand, cold weather training also has its advantages. For one, you can lose more weight if you continue to train during the winter months. Calorie burn can be higher during the winter months because our bodies have to expend more energy to stay warm.

It can also keep you sane and happy. Researchers from Duke University recently found that doing cardio work during the winter months will increase the serotonin hormone levels in the body. Plus, cold weather cardio is up to four times more effective at controlling depression symptoms compared with antidepressants.

Running in the winter can also improve your running speed. A study conducted by researchers from the Northern Arizona University showed that regular cold workouts can add up to 29 percent to a person’s running speed.

So how can you train effectively when it is cold outside? Here are some of the tips that you should bear in mind:

1) Dress in 3 or more layers

Dress in three or more layers especially during the start of your workout. Put on a base layer of compression clothing both on your upper and lower body. This should be of lightweight, synthetic material so that moisture can be wicked away from the skin. Don’t wear heavy cotton materials as these can absorb sweat and trap wetness, increasing your risk of hypothermia.

Then add another layer made of wool for insulating warmth. Top it off with a lightweight and wind-resistant material.

Now when your body starts to warm up, you can remove the clothing items to avoid overheating. When you have increased your training intensity, your metabolic heat production should be enough to keep you warm. Just put those layers back once your body begins to cool down.

You should also wear sturdy footwear with enough traction so that you will not slip and fall on snow or ice. Wear gloves as well so that your fingers would be protected from frostbite. Then cover your face with scarf or mask to avoid frostbite. Mask or scarf covering the face can also warm the air before it enters your lungs.

2) Warm Up

Warming up before a workout will increase your internal body temperature. It can also improve limb blood flow and muscle compliance which is very important in cold weather training.

A good warm up should focus on the major joints like the ankles, knees, hips, wrists, and elbows through their optimal range of motion. It should also activate the muscles and movement patterns that are specific to the workout or sport that you are participating in.

3) Rest and Eat

You need a good night’s sleep before a cold weather training. You should also have a light, pre-workout meal that consists of foods with easily digestible carbs and proteins. And if you anticipate a long workout, fuel up on light snacks to avoid glycogen depletion.

You’d think that when you are training in the cold, you won’t be as thirsty as you would be when training during the summer. Yet you’d still get thirsty especially if you increase the intensity of your workouts. Bring a water bottle with lukewarm water and drink occasionally throughout your session.

4) Prepare Your Medication

Training in cold weather can also be risky for those with asthma. Inhaling cold air can also cause throat irritation and inflammation which would result to an asthmatic reaction so you should have your medication handy. Be wary of your airways and take your meds when necessary.

5) Check Temperature and Forecast

Regularly check temperature and forecast by monitoring news or weather alerts on your mobile phone or visiting websites. You might want to train indoors when combined temperature and wind chill goes down below -20°F.

Don’t force the issue when it is too cold outside to train. You can work out in a gym like Anytime Fitness and still get the kind of training you would have when you do it outdoors.

Training during the cold months may be hard for many people but if you follow the aforementioned tips, then you should be okay.

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