The short winter darker days with cold winds and rain certainly test the motivational levels and make it much more challenging to step outside and do the exercise. I have compiled my top tips for making it through the winter months and emerging into spring with your fitness intact!
Whilst I love training outside on sunny, crisp, cold winter mornings (my TRX always is my go to if I’m outside at the mo) I equally enjoy a weights workout from the comfort of my living room without braving the elements! Whichever you go for there are a few things you can do to make winter training successful:
First up, the warm up – anyone who does my classes will know I never start a workout without a thorough warm up. This is even more important when the outside temperatures are in the single digits or minus figures. The body takes longer to warm up in winter so it is vital to invest time in warming the muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments up before getting stuck into the main part of your session. The same goes for the cool down. Gradually bring your body back to its pre-exercise state. These two combined will greatly reduce your risk of injury and muscle soreness to allow you to keep training consistently throughout winter.
Try to get those sessions in first thing if you can – I understand that this might not be possible for everyone but with a long to-do list at this time of year there are more chances you will get your workout in! Also if you are training outside this is not only the warmest part of the day but the sun is positioned optimally to give you an extra vitamin D dose.
Keep an eye on your breathing. The colder the air, the greater the stimulus to the bronchi, lungs and mucous membranes. The cold forces the bronchial tubes to narrow, while also reduces the capacity of mucous membranes to stay moist. You may notice a burning or irritation of the throat when you inhale cold air. You can adjust your breathing to mitigate this by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Breathing like this gives air a longer route to the lungs and so more time to be moistened and heated through the nasal mucosa and mouth. The air that passes through the mouth is moistened and heated during exhalation, enabling efficient breathing through this channel when necessary.
Hydration – this might sound a bit mad when you think you might not be getting as sweaty but it is vital to keep on top of your hydration in winter. Remember you will still be sweating and losing water through breathing in colder weather as well so you need to keep taking fluids on board.
Nutrition – you must make sure you are getting enough protein, vitamins, minerals and energy from your diet. Make sure you are having enough fruit and veg over winter and focus on cooking those winter warmers. Many winter meals lend themselves to big batch cooking which is not only cost effective but also will save you time down the line. So get planning and batch cooking!
Clothing. Dress dry, not just warm. Getting wet, be that through getting sweaty or getting caught in a cold winter downpour, will make you cold. Think about waterproof layers and warm, wicking underlayers which will allow you to reduce layers as you warm up and layer back up post workout as you cool down again. Now is not the time to be wearing cotton which will soak up sweat and external moisture, opt for quick drying synthetic layers.
Whilst you might love your chic black workout wear, winter is a time to sport those bright colours. Not only are they great for visibility in dull winter light but they definitely lift your mood!
Finally there are those days where the weather is just too bad to contemplate an outdoors workout. My advice here is to jump online and do a home workout from the comfort of your living room. You’ll definitely get a sweat on, tick a session off the list and you and jump into your warm shower straight afterwards!
Let me know how you navigate those winter months? If you’re looking for a rainy day home workout why not try one of my free trial workouts here.