How to Exercise in The Cold Winter Months

By Sarah Dray

Exercising outdoors in winter presents some very particular problems, both for beginners and seasoned athletes. There's no such thing as too cold to exercise, although there are certain changes to be made in your routine if you plan on keeping your workout alive during winter.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Set up a basic home gym. A good treadmill or stationary bike and a set of dumbbells may be all you need to replace your regular outdoor jogs. DVDs are another good option, as they allow you to switch among different types and intensity of workout to keep you from getting bored. For a good mix, try Pilates or Yoga on some days and a mix of resistance and cardio training on the others.
Step 2
Bundle up and head outdoors. Unless you live in an area where the standard winter day means a foot of snow on the streets, you can still go for a walk or jog. Simply make sure that you are well protected from the elements by wearing a hat, scarf and gloves. Dress up in layers so you can take something off when you start warming up. Extremities are particularly at risk for frostbite, so make sure your feet stay dry.
Step 3
Switch to a winter-themed workout. If you rather spend your time outdoors but the snow is making it hard to stick to your standard routine, make the most of what the area has to offer. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding are all excellent fat-burning workouts that also strengthen your lower body. Ice skating can burn over 400 calories in an hour. Even sledding can provide a good workout, since you'll have to trek uphill before you can slide down.
Step 4
Join a gym. There's no better time to stay indoors than winter. Some gyms even allow a pay-as-you-go system, so you can just pay for the classes you attend and then head outdoors again once spring comes around. If that's not available, try to work out a short deal, where you sign up for three months or pay month by month with the option of canceling at any time.
Step 5
Stretch and warm up indoors, even if you're heading out into the snow. A few sets of jumping jacks and some squats or lunges should be enough to get the blood pumping through your body and your breathing up to par for the coming workout.

Tips & Warnings

Make sure rooms are well ventilated when exercising indoors, and don't forget to drink water. Don't delay exercise until too late in the day. While summer workouts are better when done in the morning or evenings, outdoor winter workouts are better midday, when the sun is still out and the temperatures haven't dropped too much.
Make sure rooms are well ventilated when exercising indoors, and don't forget to drink water.
Don't delay exercise until too late in the day. While summer workouts are better when done in the morning or evenings, outdoor winter workouts are better midday, when the sun is still out and the temperatures haven't dropped too much.

About The Author

Sarah Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications, including "Woman's Day," "Marie Claire," "Adirondack Life" and "Self." She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.

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