Maintaining (or starting) an exercise routine during the winter months can be difficult, but it may benefit your health. Exercising in colder temperatures may increase endurance and may help people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder. It also may help fight off winter colds since exercise has been shown to give the immune system a boost.
A winter exercise routine does not mean you have to stay indoors. Below are a few helpful tips for exercising outdoors during the winter months:
- Dress in layers. It’s recommended to remove clothing as you begin to sweat and then put them back on as you cool down
- Protect your hands and feet. When you’re outside in the cold, your body sends blood to its core, so it’s important to wear gloves and warm socks
- Always wear a warm hat. Much of your body’s heat is lost through the head and neck
- Stay hydrated
- Choose a safe surface. Wearing shoes with good traction is especially important in the winter, particularly if there is snow or ice on the ground
Although there are many benefits to winter exercise, there are some risk factors to be aware of. Sudden, strenuous activity in the cold can cause a strain on your heart. This is especially important to keep in mind when shoveling heavy, wet snow. There is also a risk for hypothermia, which is why it’s important to always dress properly for the cold and in layers.
If you’re thinking of starting, or changing your exercise routine, it’s recommended that you consult with your physician first.
- Learn more about the importance of physical activity
- Learn more about heart healthy exercises
- Learn more about how staying active contributes to heart health and brain health, even at 70
- Cold-Weather Exercise. https://www.texasheart.org/heart-health/heart-information-center/topics/cold-weather-exercise/
- The Wonders of Winter Workouts. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-wonders-of-winter-workouts
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