It is very easy to go into hibernation mode in the winter months, with just getting out of bed a real challenge, which can put exercising a long way down our priority list. Many people complain of having less energy when winter strikes, which is exacerbated by an increased consumption of comfort foods and alcohol, and a reduction in physical activity.
If this sounds like you, don't despair. However, there are a number of good reasons to change your habits, and try and make your summer exercise regime an all-year-round habit. One such reason is that several studies suggest work-outs in wet weather in particular are more effective than those when it is warm and dry, especially in regards to an increase in fat-burning, albeit athletic performance may dip.1 It is also a good way of ensuring you avoid the seasonal blues, too.
Staying safe when exercising in the winter
There are a few simple steps you need to take to ensure you get the best out of your winter work-outs. While warming up and stretching should be an automatic part of your exercise routine to help you avoid injury, it is especially important in the colder months of the year.
Crank up your warm up
Cold weather conditions lead to your muscles losing more heat and contracting, which means your whole body can tighten. You may even find nerves can be pinched as your joints tighten, restricting the natural movement of your muscles.
Colder temperatures also mean your muscles have to work harder than they would do in warmer weather. This extra work can damage the muscle tissue, which means you may feel more sore than normal. This means it is often wise to warm up for a little while longer than you would over the spring and summer.
Brisk walking or similar cardio exercises are a good way to start, which will help lift your core temperature. You may also want to try a few bodyweight exercises, such as press-ups or squats, which will help get your blood flowing around your body after your warm-up walk. Then you should also stretch the tightest muscle groups in your body, such as your hamstrings, chest and shoulders.