Cold air, warm heart – how to beat the post Xmas blues
Cold air exercise can be just the thing to beat the winter blues! It might take everything you’ve got to get yourself out of the front door, but you will reap the rewards….
Outdoor exercise is the perfect way to reconnect with the natural world around us and take a break from the four walls that surround us. Winter exercise can help alleviate low moods, give energy levels a boost and help fight off the extra pounds that come with a more sedentary lifestyle.
Here’s our go-to guide for Fresh Air Fitness in the Winter months:
Wear It Well
Cold air isn’t your enemy but things do get more complicated if you get wet, so dressing dry is the key to success here. Water draws your body heat away from you, which is why you can feel both cold and miserable when you’re wet. Unlike other times, when natural fibres are the only answer, this is the time to break out the synthetic fibres, including polyester, nylon, and polypropylene, as they wick moisture away much more quickly, keeping you drier and warmer.
Layering up traps air between layers, which means that you don’t have to wear bulky clothes to stay warm. Start with a thin base layer, made of synthetic fibres, a middle layer, polar fleece for example, and a shell-like outer layer that is windproof. Just remember that the more waterproof your shell is, the harder it will be for sweat to escape, so think breathable.
Layering means that you can de-layer as you warm up but can quickly add layers back on as you warm down.
When it comes to the winter months, wearing bright clothes is a great way to lift your mood, but it’s also an important part of making sure you can be seen. Running in the dark is one thing – and you will need reflective wear – but an overcast, grey day can reduce visibility considerably. Go bright, be seen.
Nippy Fingers and Toes
Protecting your extremities is really important in low temperatures. A hat or headband will help with the heat that escapes from your ears and head, while good synthetic socks and a pair of gloves will take care of fingers and toes. If it is particularly frosty, you might even want to use a synthetic running snood to get started. Pulled over your mouth and nose, it could help you while you warm up and get your heart rate up.
Cold weather can be harsh on your skin – as can central heating, so this applies just as well inside – so make sure you moisturise before heading out, considering extra protection for lips and the tip of your nose. As you’ll be spending more time outdoors, it’s always worth making sure your cream has an SPF of at least 15.
Warm Up Well First
The warm up is always an essential part of any workout and this is even more important in cold weather. Cold weather workouts come with greater risk of strains, so take care to warm your muscles up properly. Include lunges, squats and arm swings in your warm up, but make sure you move while you warm up.
Airways narrow in cold weather and breathing in cold air can really hurt. Breathing through your nose is the best way to warm up air on the way to your chest, but that can be tricky mid-run. A running snood or scarf over the mouth can take the edge off the worst of the chill.
Cool Down and Change
Cool downs are just as important in the cold weather as on a balmy summer’s day. It helps your heart to re-calibrate and return to normal.
It’s then important to get out of damp, sweaty clothes, shower and redress in clean, dry clothes to maintain your body temperature.
It may be cold outside, but you are one cool customer! Exercising in the cold weather means that you chose to do the hard – but more rewarding – thing, over another half hour in bed. You are an exercise goddess and we salute you!