If you’re finding it harder to work out in winter, we don’t blame you – it happens to us too.
While winter means snug nights in and an increase of hot beverages, it also means a decrease in enthusiasm to train since our bodies work harder to keep us warm.
An easy solution to low-spirited workouts would be to ensure that you train indoors where it’s warmer, but studies show that exposure to colder climates can actually enhance the results of your workout. According to the Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, you may burn more calories while working out in cold climates since our bodies use more energy to regulate their core temperature.
Our bodies are also not working hard at cooling us down through perspiration, and our heart rates remain closer to our basal or resting heart rate in colder weather. This helps us expend less energy on regulating our heartbeat, and more energy on getting an effective workout, thus improving endurance.
The downside of training in extremely cold climates is the risk of hypothermia, which is when our bodies begin to lose heat faster than can be produced. This can easily be avoided with precautionary measures such as limiting caffeine and alcohol which reduce body temperature, as well as ensuring that you’ve eaten enough every day since your body uses up more calories.
If you’re opting to train outdoors in colder weather, here are 4 of our top tips to ensure a safe and effective workout:
Get the right gear
Author Alfred Wainwright said it best in his 1973 book, Coast to Coast: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”. It’s important to not just wear weather appropriate clothing but to ensure that your clothing is appropriate for your workout. Cyclists and runners may opt to wear dry tech clothing for example, which is designed with fabric that absorbs moisture such as sweat and keeps the body dry for longer. In our studios, miha bodytec EMS training suits use breathable, high flexibility material to enhance muscle stimulation, electrical conduction and body warmth.
Recognise the excuses that you make to avoid training and provide practical solutions for all of them. E.g:
- If you feel that you might not have the time to train, book your sessions in advance and allow it to become as important as your work tasks.
- If getting out of bed is difficult in the morning, opt for a lunch time or late-afternoon session. There’s no reason to force yourself into training when you can simply train during your most energetic time of the day.
- If you feel like you already have a lot going on, focus on setting intentions in advance such as pack your gym bag, lay your clothes out, make pre or post-workout snacks, and keep your gym shoes out where you can see it when you wake up.
Team up with a training buddy
Avoid training alone if you plan to do outdoor sports, or generally find it challenging to find the motivation to work out. Not only is it important to ensure that you are prepared for the weather but considering that surroundings such as surfaces are safe to work on, is imperative. In case of an emergency, your training buddy will be with you to provide or find help.
Pack spare dry & warm supplies
Ensure that you have extra dry clothing on hand to remove wet clothes as soon as possible, and add extra warm layers once you’ve stopped exercising. Also, pack high-protein energy-boosting snacks and do your best to protect your hands and feet, which are often most exposed in cold climates.