Here in Atlanta, our temperatures have taken a serious tumble in the past week. We’ve gone from the high 70s to low 50s in a hurry, and that’s led many families to spend these chilly days hunkered down indoors. It’s great to spend family time relaxing together, but your health shouldn’t be moved to the back burner because of cold weather.
Working out in the cold is all about using a few strategies to make your workouts safer and more comfortable. The next time your family heads outside for a fun workout together, use these winter workout tips.
Focus on Moisture-Blocking Activewear
What you wear is one of the most important factors in protecting yourself from the wintery outdoors, but warmth shouldn’t be your only concern. You also need to make sure you stay as dry as possible. If your sweat absorbs into your clothing and stays on your skin, it will conduct the cold and put you at a higher risk for frostbite…plus, it’s downright uncomfortable.
Steer clear of fabrics that absorb moisture, like cotton. Opt for moisture-wicking fabric instead, like nylon, polypropylene, and polyester, or wool if you prefer natural fibers. We’re not just talking about your shirt and pants, by the way – you also want these types of materials for your socks, gloves, earmuffs, and other accessories.
Step Up the Hydration
A lot of people don’t think hydration is as important when you work out in the cold compared to the heat. After all, you’re not sweating as much, so you think you haven’t lost much fluid. But wintery air isn’t just cold – it’s extremely dry. It dries out your skin and your body in a hurry, so make sure you hydrate just as well for your workouts in December as you would in July.
Commit to a Great Warm-Up
Did you know your family is at a higher risk for strains, sprains, and other workout injuries when the weather is cold? The cold weather makes your muscles tight, so they’re less flexible and less able to accommodate for missteps and other injury-makers.
That’s why your warm-up is especially important in cold weather. It warms up your muscles so they’re looser and less rigid. Warming up isn’t the same as stretching, though. A dynamic workout is best. Try to warm up with low-intensity movements that are similar to the motions you’ll be making when you work out. For example, a runner might warm up with a walk or with lunges and arm swings.
Consider Wearing a Mask
If you worked out outdoors in the winter at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, you might have discovered this already – your breathing can be much more comfortable when you’re wearing a mask or any other type of fabric over your mouth.
In cold weather, your airways constrict, so it’s more difficult to breathe and your lungs can get sore more easily. A mask, though, keeps the water vapor from your breath inside your mask and it warms the area around your mouth with your body heat. Because of this, the air you’re breathing in is warmer and less dry.
Keeping Your Family Comfortable AND Healthy
Whether you love or hate sweater weather, you don’t have to let it get in the way of your family’s health. The tips above can help you and your kids enjoy the invigoration of an outdoor winter workout while staying safe and comfortable. For more family fitness tips all year round, check out our Mommy and Me family fitness program. We’ll see you out there!