When the cold weather, holiday months and shorter days settle in, it is easy to loose sight of your running and exercise goals. Follow these tips for maintaining a healthy, safe and exciting workout period this winter.
- Dress in layers . A big mistake that runners make during the winter months is dressing too warmly. Your body generates a significant amount of hit when running outside, so much that you could feel like it is 25-30 degrees warmer than it really it. Once you start sweating, the cold air can cause serious body chills. The solution is to dress in layers. Wear a lightweight, durable and high-gauge knit fabric directly against your skin to absorb the sweat. Fleece is great outerwear apparel as it insulates your body well without weighing you down. Warmth without weight is what we want. Under Armour has great runners clothing, though its products are sometimes pricey. I recommend checking out Sports Authority, Dick’s Sporting Goods, even Lady Foot Locker. They often have great Under Armor sales and other decent priced brand apparel.
- Hydrate yourself. It is easy to forget to hydrate yourself in winter, but it is imperative you do so. You can dehydrate yourself just as easily in winter as in summer. Drink a lot of water before and after your workout.
- Protect extremities. The body adjusts to cold weather by reducing respiration, perspiration, and you guessed it … circulation to the skin. Considering your extremities have a greater surface area of skin than your core, body heat is lost faster in these places than the rest of your body. Make sure to wear proper gloves and thermal clothing when necessary. Also, do not forget to cover your head! As much as 55% of body heat can be lost through your head.
- Dealing with wind chill. Whether you are running, cycling or skiing, wind chill steels body heat away from you quickly since it increases air movement past your body. Once you start sweating, your body heat is lost even faster since water conducts heat away from the body even faster. Wearing the proper insulating apparel and / or thermal clothing is essential when exercising in the bitter winter months.
- Make goals. One of the best ways to stay on top of your running, especially during the party-packed holiday weeks, is to maintain running goals. Decide you are going to run 3, 5, 10 or 20 miles by the time the weather turns mild. Even better, check out what races and marathons are in your neighborhood in the winter months and sign up today.
- Stay motivated. With shorter days, fewer hours of sunlight and the bitter cold a deterrent than stepping outside, it is easy to succumb to laziness. Whether it is downloading more of your favorite tunes or creating different running route, find a way to keep yourself excited about your workout regime. Just think, when everyone else is creating a New Years resolution to “start working out regularly”, you will already be well on your way to reaching your workout goals.
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