TUESDAY, JANUARY 08, 2013
When it’s cold, it’s tempting to skip your morning run or afternoon walk. Although it requires extra motivation to work out in the winter, it’s worth the effort to stay in shape. Exercise helps control weight and boost energy; it improves your mood, sleep and sex life. It can help fight a long list of health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
The latest research suggests that even moderate exercise also may help prevent stress and anxiety, and a habit of daily exercise may even reduce the severity of cold or flu symptoms by up to 40%, this is based on a recent study of adults over 50.
Here are four tips to keep you working out safely in cold weather:
Dress in layers. Exercise generates lots of heat, but when you start to sweat outdoors, you’ll feel chilled. Layering helps control body temperature, so you can shed or put clothes back on as needed. Start with a thin bottom layer made of a synthetic material that draws sweat away from your body (cotton will stay wet against your skin); then add a layer of fleece or wool for insulation and top with a water- and windproof outer layer. And don’t forget sunscreen on exposed parts.
Cover your head. You lose about 50% of body heat from your head alone. Hands and feet also need extra protection: When it’s cold, blood flows to the center of your body to keep internal organs warm. So wear thin gloves under a heavier pair, and for your feet, pull on an extra pair of regular socks or opt for the thermal kind.
Stay hydrated. You can become dehydrated in the winter, just the same as when you work out in the summer — the only difference is that it may be harder to notice during cold weather. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workout.
Plan indoor alternatives. Don’t let rain, snow or wind chills derail your routine. Instead, pop in an exercise video, opt for mall-walking, or try something new like yoga or kickboxing.