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HEALTHY LIVING: 5 things to know about working out in winter weather

HEALTHY LIVING: 5 things to know about working out in winter weather

Winter workouts are an underutilized tool for fat burning. 

Since the winter temperatures cause our bodies to burn more energy just to simply stay warm, there are many little-known benefits to exercising outdoors throughout the colder months.

You burn more calories

When the air around us is cold, our body temperature drop causing shivers which result in energy being burned in order to keep the body temperature up.

The body also uses energy to heat and humidify the air that we breath in during outdoor workouts. 

So, while the cold weather alone does not increase caloric needs, exercising while being exposed to the elements means the body will be working extra hard not only to perform physically but also to stay warm.

Wear weather appropriate attire

Aim to plan outdoor workouts on days where there is not a high likelihood of rain or snow in the weather forecast.

Wearing layers will allow you to keep protected from the cold. Heat primarily exists the body through the head, hands, and feet. Keep your extremities covered with hats, gloves, and thick socks. Always pack an extra pair of socks, in case your feet get wet. Keeping the body dry helps to stave off hypothermia and fungal infections. 

Make sure the shoes you are wearing have enough traction. Don’t plan to workout outdoors in shoes with worn soles. 

Do a HIIT workout

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. 

Not only are HIIT workouts effective for burning calories and building muscle, the intense interval durations mean that you can spend less time out in the cold. HIIT workouts consist of cycling exercises at a high intensity for a number of reps, seconds, or minutes followed by exercises performed at a less strenuous pace. 

This form of exercise will heat your body up quickly and assist in burning fat while shortening the time you spend exposed to the elements. 

Use the wind in your favor

It’s important to contain body heat throughout your workout, especially as you continue to sweat. 

Perform movements that require motion, such as running or walking, towards the wind when you begin, and less sweat has accumulated on your body. This will ensure that when you are headed back towards your starting point the wind is blowing against you so the wind chill will not feel as strong.

Use an insulated water bottle

Thirst can be hard to gage when the weather is cold. 

Unlike on a hot summer day when thirst cues are easy to pick up on, it is important to be diligent in staying hydrated in cooler weather, and during exercise. Fill your water bottle with room-temperature water and use an insulated bottle so that the outside temperature does not cause the water to freeze. 

Be sure to thoroughly warm-up before exercising and complete a cool-down once you’re finished to ensure muscle health.

Before beginning an outdoor workout regime in the winter, consult a doctor if you have any medical conditions that may be exacerbated by cold weather.

Kristen Dearborn is a Wallingford native, NASM certified personal trainer and author of the blog dearfitkris–