When winter rolls around and temperatures begin to fall, do you shut down or layer up? Hibernating until the start of summer and better morning light might sound like a good plan; that is, until cabin fever sets in, and extra kilos start to creep on. There is no reason to let all of the gains you’ve made during the summer slip away.
In fact, not only should you not allow colder weather to scare you from working out outside; it may be the very reason to haul yourself out there to get more fit and lose more weight than you ever have before! Research suggests that cold weather workouts could boost your endurance and increase the benefits of your fitness workout.
Dropping Temperatures = Dropping Weight:
Boosting the burn. While exercising, you obviously burn more calories than you would if you were just lounging around. But, when you exercise in cold weather, you burn even more calories than usual. Your body has to try even harder to stay warm. As it does, your calorie burn goes up.
Being cool. Studies have found a correlation between temperatures and performance. As temperatures went up, performance went down.
Breathing. Running in the cold can also make you faster. It has been shown that the cold air in your lungs improves your VO2 Max, which helps you use oxygen more efficiently and provides the best measure of overall fitness level.
Making the Most out of your Cold Weather Fitness Workouts:
Dress up. Cold weather calls for appropriate, safe attire for your winter fitness workout. Remember to dress in layers and avoid cotton when possible. Look for breathable base layer tops and bottoms that wick moisture. Your outerwear should be waterproof to repel moisture.
Get Warm. What you wear will keep your body warm, but you have to warm up your muscles too. Start your workout slowly and continue progressively. Ease into your training, priming your muscles for the workout.
Keep it shorter. The colder the weather, the shorter the fitness workout should be. Exercise is good, even in the cold, but overexposure is bad news. Consider supplementing your outdoor workout with some indoor body weight and plyometric moves, either before you head outdoor workout, or afterwards. Morning bootcamps are the perfect match because they offer all of those in one session. **
Cooling down. Your cold weather cool down is a little different than you might be used to. Because the temperatures are lower and you are likely to be covered in sweat, you can’t stay outside too long. Instead of stopping to stretch, slow your pace to a walk or jog. Then, head indoors for the stretching portion of the cool down.
Drink up. Although you might not feel like you are dehydrated, you very well could be. The cold weather gives the misconception that you didn’t sweat or are not thirsty – but you did, and you are. As you should with any kind of fitness workout, be sure to re-hydrate when you finish stretching.
For Your Training & Fitness advice, ask Sports Therapist: Marie Carol Cartwright. See website for contact details.
* * To join this year’s winter morning bootcamp, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org