February 7th 2012

Smart winter work-out tips

It sure gets difficult to stay motivated when it’s dark before you get off work at 5pm. Though the days are finally getting a little longer, the sun is still setting earlier, and we’re still faced with darkness before dinner time.

Even more, it is extremely tempting to throw in the towel, instead of being faced with the dark sky and, likely, the chilly weather.

But if we decide to hibernate instead of getting moving, we’ll stop keeping up with our winter work outs.

Here are some top tips and main reasons why we should keep moving in the winter time.

The Extra Physical Stress

While summer is generally a time of leisure, winter brings out a little more work. Think of all of that snow you have to shovel, as well as holiday-related decorating, undecorating and shopping. Yes, doesn’t seem terribly tiring, but you’ll see, it adds up. Keep moving and keep in shape, and these things will naturally come easier.

The Mental Exhaustion

The stress of the holidays and, for some, the season, requires an out that we can use to vent. Exercise is the perfect prescription. Not only can we jog out our frustrations, but lifting a few weights and grunting never hurt anyone, either. This is the perfect time to let it all out.

The Sleep

Winter is often a time of high stress at work. Deadlines are prevalent, launches occur regularly. We tend to sleep more soundly through the winter if we get moving. Exercise, in general, helps us sleep, so get moving to help get a better sleep to get ready for the workday.

Warm-It-Up

And I don’t mean just before your workout. Working out regularly in the winter helps improve your circulation (as it does, of course, any time of year). This will help keep the warm blood pumping, especially to our hands and feet where we’ll need it most.

Fight the Flu

Because we boost our body, we also boost our immunity, and therefore, our body is better equipped to fight against the cold and flu. Keep your immunity high by getting moving all year round.

Go for the Layered Look

When you’re working out in the outdoors in the winter time, wear easily removable layers to adapt to your body’s needs. Your bottom layer should be made of a moisture wicking material, such as polypropylene or merino wool. Then, cover yourself up with a long-sleeved fleece to stay really warm.

Get the Extremities

Make sure you cover up your neck, chin, mouth, hands, head, and feel when it’s chilly. Use a neck-warming gaiter or sweat wicking scarf, and layer on the gloves, covering with thick, wool winter ones if necessary. You may also want to invest in shoes that are a half-size larger than you usually wear, so you can wear thicker or layer socks. Finally, cover your head with a warm toque to reserve body heat.

Lighten Up

Wear bright clothes – not black – when running at night, such as white or yellow. You will also want to wear reflective tape or clothes that have reflective filters built in. You can also buy headgear that flashes a light, or a reflective vest to put over regular running gear.

Fuel Up Before, During, and After

You might not sweat or feel quite as thirsty during a winter run, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t losing fluid or running the risk of dehydration. Be sure to drink enough water before, during, and after your work out. It’s important to realize that you can lose just as much water during a cold-weather workout as one that you do in the dead heat of the summer.

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.