Cold Weather Workouts

By Kate Wilke

Exercising outside is therapeutic and a way to escape to nature. Jason Henry, CPT, gives several tips on physical and mental preparation for workouts in colder temps. With these tips, you won’t have to wait until spring weather to enjoy the outdoors!

Physical Preparation

1. Warm Up Inside: Henry suggests layering up and performing a five-minute warm up indoors. “It is a good idea to get your body warm, but not so warm that you break a sweat,” says Henry. He suggests finishing the warm up outside with some stretches or jumping jacks so that your metabolic processes start firing up in the cold.

2. Don’t Stop: Henry says to never stop moving once you’re outside. “The old adage is that if you spend time moving out in the cold, you’ll get sick. However, it is really inactivity in the cold weather that has the greatest chance to compromise your immune system,” says Henry. He advises heading inside as soon as you stop your workout.

3. Cool Down Inside – Performing a cool down inside will prevent stiff muscles and allow a smoother transition into a resting state. If you choose to cool down outside, Henry suggests performing a short cool down where your body does not stop moving completely.

4. Hot Shower: Before taking a hot shower, Henry warns that your body needs adequate time to come to the resting state. “A warm or hot shower can help relieve stiff joints acutely, or the day after a cold weather workout. Sit down in the shower and take some time to relax,” says Henry.

Mental Preparation

1. Yoga: Henry says he enjoys practicing yoga in both his warm up and cool down. “Yoga is a great way to increase blood circulation to the muscles and connect with your breathing. Your yoga could include both visualization and meditation,” says Henry.

2. Visualization: “Gear your mental preparation toward the cold,” says Henry. “Visualize your mind and body’s initial resistance to the cold.” Henry encourages preparing for any negative thoughts that may occur.

 3. Meditation – Outdoor exercise is a good time to relax. The excitement before a workout, called anticipatory heart rate response, will elevate your heart rate, according to Henry. He uses meditation to keep his heart rate in check. “It seems that good athletes are able to master being pumped up and relaxed at the same time,” says Henry.

4. Partner Up – “The human condition thrives on relationships and teamwork.” Henry encourages exercising with a partner to face challenges to have fun. “You can push each other with strength and humor and have a better tendency to overcome the cold as a team.”

Now that you have some tips on how to take care of your body in cold weather, you have no excuse to stay indoors!

 Works Cited

Jason Henry is a personal trainer at the YMCA in Springfield, IL. He graduated from Illinois State University in 2011 with a degree in exercise science.

Photo Credit

Categories: Your Fitness

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