The recent, and in fact, continuing, cold weather spells are often used as an excuse not to head out and exercise by many. If you are struggling with motivation even a little bit the tiniest reason will do and the idea of getting up from under the duvet and out into the cold is enough to make you huddle down even further. But you could be missing out on an excellent way to warm up!
We know the benefits of exercising. We know how to do it, and we have the tools to get motivated. We have a variety of exercises to get us out and moving. We have been exploring all these things here over the last few months. So there is no excuse not to get up and do it. Here is what you need to know about staying safe in the colder weather and using it to your advantage rather than as an excuse to turn up the heating and tuck into another slice of cake.
The benefits of cold weather exercise
You may not think so, but there are a few:
- It will warm you up. Exercise raises your heart rate, gets the blood pumping round faster and, quite simply, warms you up
- It will improve your mood. It is easy to feel a little low in the cold and dark winter months, so getting up, out and moving will combat that. If you are out during daylight hours and the sun is shining it will help you tackle seasonal affective disorder too
- You will get some vitamin D. Exposure to sunlight boosts our levels of vitamin D, the best way of getting our daily dose
- You will cut your chances of catching cold and flu viruses. Cold weather training can help boost your immune system, warding off some of the cold and flu viruses that are all around us in the winter
- Increase the intensity of your workout in a way that you can’t do when the sun is blazing or it is humid and sticky
What to be aware of
There are a few things to keep in mind when exercising in cold weather. To get the most out of your workout:
- Be aware of the temperature and wind chill. If the temperature drops to -15 degrees Celsius, or the wind chill causes it to feel that cold, then take your training session indoors. The chances of frostbite are higher and it can hit more quickly than at higher temperatures. If it is raining, wear a waterproof layer as you are more susceptible to the cold when you are wet.
- Dress warmly, in layers. That way you can take layers off as you warm up and put them back on again as soon as you finish. Make sure to wear a wicking, synthetic layer against your skin to avoid sweat cooling you down quickly. Keep your head, hands, feet, and ears covered at all times.
- Look out for the signs of frostbite or hypothermia. The signs of frostbite are numbness, tingling, and loss of sensation particularly of the extremities. If you think you may have frostbite, get indoors as soon as you can and slowly warm up the affected areas with lukewarm water. Hypothermia signs include intense shivering, loss of coordination and slurred speech, and fatigue. Seek medical help if you suspect hypothermia.
Now that you know how to stay safe in the cold, there is no reason not to get your exercise gear on and get outside. If you want a helping hand or a motivation boost talk to us at Valkyrie Personal Training and Massage. We are a phone call away on 07973 483314 and we will have you out of the door before you can say ‘I’m cold’.