10 Ways to Stay Fit During a Cold Winter

We know, we know: winter is the perfect time to hibernate! To eat hearty soups and stews, make holiday cookies, and become best friends with our couches. But our bodies — and our minds — quickly feel the effects of inactivity. Cold weather isn’t an excuse to stop our fitness journeys. In fact, it’s the ideal time to ramp up our efforts and make terrific strides (literally) towards better health.

Cold Weather, Warm Hearts!

In the winter, you won’t have to deal with the heat and humidity, and the cool/cold air can make you feel alive! You’ll be able to exercise longer, burn more calories, get a little Vitamin D, boost your immunity, relieve depression and tension, and promote relaxation.

Get your heart pumping and blood flowing with these great winter activities:

  • Walking, jogging, running, or hiking. Keep a brisk pace.
  • Shoveling snow. Best ab workout ever!
  • Sledding.
  • Cross-country skiing.
  • Snowshoeing.
  • Winter camping.
  • Raking leaves and doing yard work. If you don’t get much snow to speak of, take advantage of cool temps to get some winterizing/weatherizing done.
  • Acting your age. And if you do get a few inches of the white stuff, build a snowman, make snow angels, have a snowball fight. You’ll torch calories, get your body moving, and have a blast.

Whatever you choose to do outside, make sure you put your safety first. These tips will help you get your fitness on and prevent injury or cold-related issues.

  1. Dress the part. When you’re out and about in winter, think “dry.” Getting wet is a sure way to become cold — and grumpy. You want to avoid the loss of heat that precipitation (snow, rain) and perspiration (good old sweat) cause. Skip the cotton, which soaks up fluids and chills your body, and opt instead for synthetic materials like nylon, polypropylene, and polyester.
  2. Layer it on. Smart layering keeps you dry, warm, and comfortable during your winter fitness activities. If it’s especially brisk outside, put on a synthetic fabric shirt, then a fleece, and finally an outer shell for wind-, rain-, and snow protection.
  3. Keep it tight. Clothing that fits snugly can increase circulation, prevent premature fatigue, and support your muscles, connective tissues, and joints. It also helps insulate your body.
  4. Be warm — but not too warm. You want to hold out for the Goldilocks standard: not too warm, not too cold. Just right. If you’re walking out the door, you should feel a bit chilly. If you overdress, you’ll sweat, and this cools you down. As you’re exercising, take off layers as you become warmed up. Don’t wait for the sweat to run. The more intense the activity, the more essential it is to peel off layers as needed.
  5. Speaking of warming up… Before you set out, get in a quick warm up to avoid sprains and strains. Do dynamic, or fluid moves to get your body ready. Simply walking and then progressing to a slow jog, is a great way to prevent injury.
  6. Cool down. Trust us, you will get quite warm when you exercise in the winter! Don’t forget a cool down to ease muscle soreness and get your heart rate back down. Again, walking is great. For five to ten minutes, go into an easy, restorative stroll, and then do some static stretches.
  7. Get warm again. Warm up, cool down… now it’s time to stay warm. Remove wet/damp clothing as soon as possible and hop in the shower. Ahhhh.
  8. Don’t forget hydration. As always, sip water while you exercise and then refuel with more H2O after. You need hydration all year long, and in the winter, it can help keep your skin from drying out.
  9. Recognize the signs of hypothermia. These include mental confusion, slow reaction time, slurred speech, cold hands and feet, excessive shivering, sleepiness, and loss of coordination. Never risk your safety by going out when it is frigid.
  10. Stay indoors! If it’s too cold, icy, or rainy to head outside, get fit inside. Dance, stream a free workout video, lift some weights, give your house a good deep clean, climb the stairs, practice yoga… there’s an endless list of great activities you can do in the comfort of your own home.

Staying fit in the winter is not only possible — it’s a whole lot of fun! To get into, or stay in, the best shape of your life, keep moving. Consult your medical professional if you have limitations (e.g. heart condition), and remember to treat yourself well. Visit an experienced chiropractic care provider to relieve and prevent pain, build flexibility, and create a plan that is tailored to your unique needs.

Don’t use winter as an excuse to stray from your path of health and wellness! It’s the ideal time to make this commitment to yourself. During a long, cold winter, consider your chiropractic health and schedule an appointment with us.