Exercising Tips: Look HOTT When its Cold
While making better food choices is important to being healthy, exercising and being physically active is just as important if not more. According to researchers at the Centers of Disease Control, nearly 80 percent of adult Americans do not get the recommended amounts of exercise each week, potentially setting themselves up for years of health problems.And with 2 out of every 3 Americans being overweight and obese, its obvious we’ve got some work to do.
But how does one adhere to their new year resolutions to exercise more when being faced with some cold, windy, icy and in some places snowy challenges? Perhaps, taking advantage of it as a twofer is something that might interest you. Did you know that your metabolism rate speeds up in cold weather? Its true! So take advantage of the doubled up ante and exercise in a little bit of cold weather and burn more calories. So don’t throw in the towel just yet – there are some things you should know and can do to still get your exercise on in cold and extreme weathers.
Unbeknownst to many when the climate is heavily different from your body temperature, due to cold (or heat), your body extends more energy by shivering to heat up (or sweating to cool down). All this is an effort to maintain it’s preferred temperature which increases your metabolism making it even easier to burn additional calories. Many of you are probably now having an ‘ah hah’ moment now understanding the concept behind saunas and why some people overdress when exercising in hot weather or wear those ungodly looking trash bag like contraptions claiming to sweat off the weight. It’s the same concept. In this scenario however, you’d be taking advantage of the cold winter weather. And rightly you should. Here are a safety few tips to follow so you can exercise and look hott when its cold.
1. Safety First
Exercise but do so safely. If there is a blizzard or snowstorm expected – stay home and exercise inside. However, if its just cold outside, hold off exercising until a later time in the day when the temperatures are warmer, the snow paths have been shoveled and visibility is better to observe for black ice. Try finding a safe loop to run in your neighborhood that you can repeat as many times as you want.
2. Dress for Success
If you do exercise outdoors, wear layers. You want to take advantage of the cold weather’s impact on metabolism however beware of hypothermia and frostbite. I realize a scarf and gloves are not typical workout gear, but let’s not kid ourselves – it’s cold. As you warm up you’ll be able to shed some of those layers.
3. Warm up wisely
Before any workout, walk around or jog in place indoors for five minutes. And when you head out, give your body time to adjust the conditions by taking 30 second breaks every few minutes for the first 10 minutes. Going from zero to 60 in very cold weather is harsh on the body.
4. Cool down – don’t freeze down
Avoid getting too chilled during your cool down, keep it brief. Slow your pace for three to four minutes, then go inside to stretch. Take off extra layers and keep moving for another five to 10 minutes before showering.Your body needs this to safely acclimate from the changing temperatures.
5. Be flexible
Although you want to run a mile, it’s better to underestimate your ability in the cold – start with half a mile. This is in case you have to stop prematurely. This type of planning ahead will prevent you from stoping abruptly which causes your body temperature to drop rapidly, increasing your risk for hypothermia. Remember, you’re still burning calories from both exercising and an increased metabolism due to the cold weather, so don’t feel that your workout won’t be enough. And make sure to ease into it to help your airways acclimate. In near freezing weather, it’s helpful to wrap a scarf around your neck, nose and mouth to warm up the air before your breathe it in.