Exercising in the Cold

Cooler temperatures don’t mean you have to take a three-month hiatus from your fitness routine; however it does mean you may have to be more prepared. Whether you exercise outside or indoors, doing some kind of activity will help you maintain your weight and make you an overall healthier, happier person around the holidays.

  1. See if your company or insurance plan offers any type of gym reimbursement. Your outdoor exercise routine can usually be modified indoors on a treadmill or spin bike. Find a gym where you don’t necessarily need to commit to a year membership.
  2. Check out a new type of fitness class. Be adventurous; even something you think you may not like might end up inspiring you! Plus, the social aspect of fitness classes can keep your morale up during a season of winter blues.
  3. Dress appropriately to continue your outdoor fitness routine, even during the coldest months. Dress in layers, including the following:
    1. Base layer, such as form-fitting tights or undershirt made of a sweat-wicking material
    2. Heavier outer layer, such as a rainproof jacket or fleece, ideally with a zipper so you can let air in as your body temperature gets warmer
    3. Protection for the extremities, including proper fitting shoes and dry socks, hat, and gloves that can be easily taken off if you get too warm

Realistic exercise goals

  1. Commit to exercising a designated number of days each week depending on your schedule. If you find you have extra time, add in an extra workout, but start with what is realistic now.
  2. Recruit your family or friends. Exercise is easier when you have social support, especially from the people you spend the most time with. Ask your co-workers to bundle up for a brisk outdoor walk or start a new family tradition of walking through your neighborhood to hand deliver Christmas cards or admire the decorations.
  3. Just because you might not be able to commit a lot of time to exercise around the holidays, don’t skip your workout altogether! Even ten minutes of vigorous activity in a day can make a difference in your mood and add a tiny boost to your metabolism.

Stay connected

If you plan on outdoor exercise and are unsure what to wear, check out Runner’s World’s “What to Wear” feature. It provides clothing recommendations based on the temperature, elements, and time of day.

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