With the winter months upon us what are you doing to stay in shape? Here are REV3’s top 5 tips for exercising in the cold.
1. Layers, layers, layers! There’s really three layers to consider when exercising in the cold. The base layer, a mid-layer and an outer layer. Your base layer should be moisture wicking to keep you dry. Your mid-layer is your insulator to keep you warm. The outer layer should block wind and repel water. Team REV3Endurance member Jon says “Zippers are nice. If you feel like you’re overheating you can always unzip to let cooler air in.” Don’t forget to cover your hands and head too! The easiest way to cool down if you get too hot it to remove gloves or a hat.
2. Don’t forget lights! In the winter months it tends to get dark much earlier (and I feel like faster?) than in the summer. It’s important to remember proper reflective gear and lights when exercising outside. Runners and road cyclists should always wear light colored and reflective gear in order to be seen by cars and other traffic. A bike should be outfitted with at least two lights. For road riding your headlight should be at least 500 lumens to clearly see the road ahead. A flashing tail light is highly suggested for safety. If you’re riding trail you may want to add an additional light on your helmet. Your bar headlight should be aimed lower to see trail in front of you while the helmet light works as a spotlight to see where you’re looking and further down the trail. (Interested in doing some night trail riding? Join our Strava group here for weekly ride information)
3. Stay Hydrated! It’s easy to forget to drink water when you aren’t sweating as you do when exercising in summer because of this it is actually easier to dehydrate in the winter. Your body has to work harder to humidify the drier winter air. Experts suggest rehydrating with room temperature water in order to keep your internal temperature at an optimal level.
4. Check the weather before you head out! Windchill is a serious factor during the winter months. Even the sunniest days can have a windchill factor that makes outside exercise dangerous. If the temperature is going to drop below zero degrees Fahrenheit consider skipping the outside exercise for the day or finding an alternative activity inside.
5. Don’t forget to warm up! Dynamic warm ups are the best way to prepare for any exercise but are especially important during the cold months. These low intensity exercises like bodyweight lunges and squats, knee hugs or toe walks, and leg swings can get your blood flowing and help prevent injury. Remember dynamic warm ups are better for pre-workouts while static stretching should be saved for after.