Outdoor Activities in Winter – Yay or Nay?
When it’s cold, dark, and (most likely) wet outside, it often takes a lot of self-convincing to pluck up the courage for some outdoor sports activities. However, getting some exercise in the fresh air is important in every season! In winter, one great perk of exercising outdoors is that the temperature changes and brisk air will do wonders for your immune system. What’s more, since your body reacts to the cold by increasing your heart rate, you will burn more calories and get even more mileage out of your workout.
Still, it’s essential to stick to a few basic rules, as the cold is not completely harmless!
1. Wear appropriate clothing
Dressing in layers is the best choice. Wear functional, moisture-permeable items. Cotton is a bad choice because it absorbs sweat and becomes moist easily, which means you’ll feel colder in it.
Wearing a cap is essential because almost 40% of your body heat is lost through your head. The ears are particularly sensitive to the cold, so make sure your headwear covers them!
2. Warm yourself up well
Just like your car, your body also needs a bit more time to warm up during the winter. Starting an outdoor activity without warming up first puts you at serious risk of injuring your muscles, tendons and joints. This is why you need to take special care to complete a warm-up session before starting with your exercise routine. Make this session at least 3 to 5 minutes long and adapt it to the activities you will be performing.
3. Breathe correctly
When you’re short of breath, the automatic reaction is to start breathing through your mouth, as this gives you the feeling that you’re filling your lungs with more air. However, this is something you should definitely try to avoid, because your lungs and airways will start hurting from the cold. It’s much better to breathe through your nose in winter, as this warms and moisturises the air.
4. Drink a lot of liquids
Even though you don’t feel that thirsty when it’s winter, do make sure to take in enough liquids – at least two litres a day.
5. Don’t stay outdoors for too long
After you have completed your training session, make sure to return indoors and change out of your wet clothes as soon as possible, as the risk of catching a cold is biggest after sports activities.