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Exercising in cold weather can be fun and help with your new resolutions

By Ann Irr Dagle

The new year is here, and the resolutions have been made.  Before you abandon your resolution to exercise more, let me share some outdoor exercising tips to help you not only be successful with your resolutions, but actually enjoy the winter months as you take your exercises outdoors.

Winter is a beautiful time to soak in the sun, surrender to the serenity of the season, and breathe in the clear crisp air. Here are some helpful tips to keep you fitness programs alive and healthy all winter long.

So where do you go when the sidewalks are filled with ice and snow?  Safety is important when going outside and often the sidewalks are not safe for walking.  Try and take advantage of local and state parks, golf courses, and even schools to cross country ski, sled or ice skate. 

Cross country skiing is free at most of the parks and golf courses.  Simply strap on your boots and skis, and enjoy.  Cross country skiing is a great physical exercise with a high calorie burn.  You can burn an average of 500 calories in one hour of skiing.

Do you have fond memories as a child as you jumped on your sled down the hills?  Parks, schools, golf courses are great places to relive those childhood memories.  Walking up the hills, you will engage the large muscle groups use energy and build strength.  Sliding down will bring back the playfulness in your spirit.

Ice skating is a perfect exercise for both cardiovascular and strength training.  Communities will often flood baseball parks for ice skaters allowing for night time skating.  Once again an hour of ice skating can burn almost 500 calories. So instead of becoming a couch potato at night, grab the family and go outside. 

Your workout wear is one of the most important components of your outdoor winter fitness program.  Dress in layers so as you begin to warm up, the layers can be removed and the body doesn’t overheat. Sweat should be absorbed by the first layer of clothing, while the outer layers are for protection from the weather, such as freezing temperatures.

Moisture wicking clothing is great in both cold and warm weather workouts.  The clothing is designed to pull the sweat away for your body, allowing the body temperature to stay comfortable.  For safety, if you exercise outdoors at night, reflective clothing should be worn. 

Warming up prior to exercising in the cold is important.  Cold temperatures cause muscles to tighten and contract, which makes them more susceptible to injuries.   With any exercise, start of at a slow pace for the first five minutes so that blood has a chance to reach your muscles, increase circulation and properly warm up.  Make sure each outdoor walk or run is complete with a stretching routine to avoid muscle soreness.

Always hydrate.  In the warm weather, as we sweat, we connect sweating with losing fluids therefore are more aware to hydrate.  But the cold dry air of winter can cause a drying effect within our body, increasing the risk of dehydration.  Drink plenty of water during any outdoor exercising. 

By staying fit during the winter months, you’ll be able to avoid weight gain, keep you r energy levels and mood up.  The long winter days will seem more manageable.  And you will look forward to the spring with a renewed sense of yourself.


Ann Irr Dagle, NASM, Personal Coach & Trainer
Member and Past Board Member of SECT Women’s NETWORK

As profiled on GRACE magazine website, www.graceforwomen.com

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