Fitness

Take your exercise outdoors this winter

November 29, 2016
There are plenty of ways that you can safely exercise outdoors in the winter months. You may just have to take a couple of extra precautions depending on the temperature and elements.

As the cold winter air rolls in, many of us take solace in big cozy sweaters and get far more lax with our fitness routines. After all, exercising in the gym can get monotonous, and it's far too cold to get your sweat on outside, isn't it? Actually, there are plenty of ways that you can safely exercise outdoors in the winter months. You may just have to take a couple of extra precautions depending on the temperature and elements.

"Spending time outdoors in the winter can help you adapt to the temperatures."

Benefits of cold weather exercise
Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean your body doesn't need to get moving. This is especially true if you find yourself indulging in an abundance of holiday goodies! However, the benefits of exercising outdoors in the winter extend past the fact that your blood is pumping and your heart rate is increasing.

Seasonal affective disorder is a common mood condition that tends to start in the late fall and last until spring due to the changes in your circadian rhythm and melatonin and serotonin levels. These feelings of irritability, fatigue and an overall "blah" mood can lead to weight gain and strain on relationships. According to the Mayo Clinic, though, light therapy is a popular treatment for this disorder. While light boxes are always an option, why not skip those and spend some time in the sunshine? Though it's limited in the winter, spending an afternoon exercising in the sun not only releases endorphins but can also give you a good dose of vitamin D, too - lifting your spirits. For many people, the hardest time to naturally get vitamin D naturally is during the winter months. By exercising outside as much as you can during the winter, and taking SFH's Omega 3 oils fortified with vitamin D3, you can make sure you're getting what you need.

According to Active, spending more time outdoors in the summer can help you adapt to the cold temperatures as well. So if an outdoor fitness session seems unbearable early in the winter, keep at it because your body will likely get used to it!

Popular methods of fitness
If the sidewalks aren't icy or snowy, you can certainly continue your regular cardio routine and go for a run every day. However, there are going to be times this winter that you can't do so. There will also be days that allow you to embrace a beautiful winter afternoon, so here are some season-specific activities to try this winter:

  • Sledding: Many people brush sledding off as a juvenile activity, not remembering how physically trying it actually is to trudge up a hill over and over in the snow. Just because you get to enjoy the thrill of riding down the hill on a sled doesn't mean the effort to get up the hill should be forgotten!
  • Ice skating: If you can't remember the last time you laced up a pair of ice skates, give it a try this winter. What may have been a regular way to spend a winter afternoon in your childhood tends to be forgotten in the whirlwind of adulthood. In addition to being a good source of exercise, it's a great date idea, too!
  • Skiing/snowboarding: Like sledding, people don't think about how many calories a day spent skiing and snowboarding can burn. According to Everyday Health, a 150-pound person can burn 240 calories in just 30 minutes, then you can enjoy the views of the mountains from the ski lift while you catch your breath!
Skiing is a great way to burn calories this winter.Skiing is a great way to burn calories this winter.

Stay safe
As long as you pay attention to your body and the weather while embarking on a cold-weather activity, you likely don't have anything to worry about. However, it's still important to know when it's time to call it a day and warm up outdoors. Here are some signs of hypothermia to look out for when you're spending a day outside:

  • Shivering.
  • Confusion.
  • Dizziness.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Fatigue.
  • Trouble speaking.
  • Nausea.

When exercising outdoors, make sure you dress for the weather. This includes donning warm socks, a coat, hat and gloves, at least. Carry a cell phone with you in case you need to be picked up because you've gotten too cold. Use your best discretion, and stay indoors if it's raining or sleeting outside or the windchill dips the temperature below zero.

Listen to your body

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