Healthy Living Blog – Exercising in Cold Weather
During the holiday season, a lot of people gain weight because of overeating and a lack of exercise. The cold weather usually makes people want to stay all bundled up indoors. This doesn’t help motivate people to continue their fitness routines during the winter season. It’s important to be physically active every day as part of a healthy lifestyle.
The benefits of cold-weather exercise
- Able to work out longer. There is no heat or humidity in cold weather so your body doesn’t have to work extra to regulate temperature.
- It’s a good way to get sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency and SAD are more present in the winter months so getting natural sunlight can help your body make vitamin D and boost your mood.
- It’s an immune system booster. A few minutes of physical activity a day can help prevent infection from the cold or the flu.
- Improves overall well-being. A 2004 study from Finland found that winter swimming prevented fatigue and tension and improved overall well-being in 36 middle-aged adults.
Exercises to do in the cold weather
- Brisk walking or hiking
- Running or jogging
- Ice skating
If you are in places where it snows, like Tahoe, you can try:
- Shoveling snow
Indoor activities, good for people who have chronic health conditions
- Home workout videos
- Active house chores
- Stair climbing
Staying safe when exercising outdoors in cold weather
- Wear layers. Dress in layers that you can take off easily. Start with a base layer that wicks away sweat. Add a layer of fleece or wool which will trap your body heat. If you are in a very cold climate, add a waterproof, breathable outer layer. If you need to, you can wear wool or fleece gloves, caps, and socks to protect your hands, head, and feet.
- Practice sun protection behaviors. Even though it’s colder and the skies might be cloudy, you’re still exposed to harmful UV rays. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses that block all UV rays.
- Drink a lot of water. Drink water before, during, and after your workout so that you don’t become dehydrated.
- Choose a safe surface. Make sure to choose paths that are clear from fall hazards such as wet ground, fallen leaves, and snow. Wear shoes with good traction to prevent yourself from slipping.
- Protect your lungs. If you have asthma or are exercising in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, cover your mouth with a quick-drying neck gaiter, which is a piece of material that covers your neck and mouth.
Have questions or curious to learn more? Please reach out to our Health Center and make an appointment to speak with a doctor. AACI provides services in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and many other languages. Call (408) 975-2763 to schedule your appointment today!