Working out is an important part of many people’s routines and this is often particularly important in the winter months. For those that enjoy the mental health benefits of regular exercise, maintaining their workouts during the winter months can be a great way to combat the potential for low moods that can come with the colder weather and fewer hours of daylight.
However, it is important to ensure that you are well prepared for working out in cold weather to minimise the risk of injury or muscle strain, even if you’re working out indoors, in an exercise class or at the gym. It’s important to ensure you have dressed appropriately for the journey home in cold weather to avoid a sudden change of body temperature that could negate some of the benefits of your session.
The Benefits of Layers When Exercising Outside
If you are planning to exercise outside, then you will need to ensure that you are warm enough to counteract the weather, but not so bundled up that you will overheat when you start to work up a sweat. If you are used to exercising outside, then you can carry on your routine throughout winter so long as you have the right workout gear.
That’s why warm layers are such a sensible choice for anyone wanting to get out and exercise when the temperatures drop. There are a few factors to consider when choosing your winter workout gear, including weather conditions, temperature, moisture levels, and wind chill.
If you want to work out in the rain, then a light, waterproof outer layer is a great way to keep the elements at bay while keeping your inner layers dry. Wear a moisture-wicking base layer so that moisture doesn’t sit on your skin as that will leave you feeling colder.
Choose your footwear carefully to ensure that you aren’t taking on water from the bottom as this will result in cold feet and discomfort. Gaiters or waterproof socks can stop your feet from getting sodden and help avoid chafing from soggy socks that could lead to blisters or sore patches.
When you are in low temperatures, your core is usually the last place you feel it as your body diverts blood from your extremities to keep your vital organs warm. This means that your fingers, toes and nose feel the cold more than most, so wearing gloves, good socks, and a face mask, snood or neck gaiter could help keep your chilliest parts nice and warm.
What To Pack When Exercising Inside
Exercising indoors when the weather gets colder is a great way to keep up your fitness regime without exposing yourself to the elements, but you still need to be aware of the weather conditions. Getting hot and sweaty in a gym class can make you feel great but heading out into cold temperatures can allow your body temperature to drop too quickly, which can give you shivers.
As with outdoor exercising, well-chosen layers are your best friend when it comes to working out. Keeping yourself cosy on the way to the gym will give you a head-start when it comes to getting your muscles warmed up, and you can take off a layer every time you kick your workout up a notch to keep your body at its optimal temperature.
Once you have finished your workout, add layers as you drop in intensity to give your muscles a chance to cool down without a sudden drop in temperature. This is always a good idea to help out your body’s thermoregulation system, but it is particularly important when you are heading out into cold weather afterward.
Include a water- and wind-proof outer layer to help you keep the chills at bay as you head out and have a nice warm shower once you get home to loosen your muscles. Preparation is the key to a good winter workout, so plan your clothing to give yourself the maximum benefit without the downsides of exposing yourself to inclement weather.