Exercise Tips for Cold Weather

As the days get shorter and the temperatures cool down, you don’t have to give up your outdoor physical activity. Exercise is beneficial for your overall health, and the best way to stick to it all year round is to engage in physical activity that you enjoy. 

If you aren’t cut out for exercising inside or you just want to continue enjoying the outdoors, a few tips can ensure that you continue to enjoy physical activity, even during cold weather.

Our obesity medicine specialists at Nova Physician Wellness Center are devoted to helping patients lose excess weight and improve their overall health. Dr. Rohit Suri and Dr. Seema Chaudhary offer individualized exercise plans to meet your goals and lifestyle. You can meet with them at one of our offices in Fairfax, Ashburn, and Vienna, Virginia. 

Physical activity is one of the keys to maintaining a healthy weight. The following are a few tips to help you stay active this winter.

Avoid overdoing it

Exercising when the temperatures drop can place added stress on the body. The heart must work harder to pump blood throughout the body. The stress from over-exercising in cold weather can impair circulation and depress the immune system. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic and flu season in full swing, it’s more important now than ever to keep your immune system strong. Because it’s easier for a workout in cold temperature to tax the body, it’s important that you avoid overdoing it.  

Stretch before you exercise

Don’t scoff at the benefits of stretching before exercise. While you may think it’s unnecessary, consider that stretching before you exercise in cold weather warms the muscles. What’s more, stretching improves blood flow, increases flexibility, and reduces the stress that strenuous activity places on your body. It’s important to stretch before you go out into the cold because stretching cold muscles can increase the risk of injury.

Warm up once you’re outside

When you venture outdoors in cold weather it’s best to avoid putting the pedal to the medal immediately. While you’re likely raring to go, it’s better for your body to start out slow. A 10-minute warmup exercise primes your muscles, so start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your cold-weather workout.

Maintain good hydration

Staying hydrated is a no brainer during the summer months, but did you know that drinking plenty of fluids is just as important when temperatures cool down? When you see your breath outdoors as you breathe, that represents moisture leaving your body. 

Even if you aren’t thirsty, it’s important to maintain hydration when exercising in cold weather. Drink plenty of water and clear fluids throughout the day to ensure that your body is well hydrated. 

Dress in layers

Wearing the appropriate clothing is essential to exercising in cold weather. Dressing in layers helps to trap warm air close to your body to promote good circulation. This will help maintain your body heat while you exercise in cooler temperatures. 

You’ll feel cooler when you start your exercise, and it's normal to feel warmer as you get going. As your body warms up, you can remove layers so that you can continue to exercise comfortably.

Choosing your layers carefully is key to a good cold-weather workout. The material closest to your skin will help keep you dry as you exercise, and the middle layer serves as insulation to trap heat and keep you warm. 

Think of your outer layer as a shell. It should be waterproof to protect from the elements. Because the legs generate more heat, it’s more important to have layers on your upper body.

Exercise is a vital component of healthy living. When you’re ready to feel and function better through a customized fitness plan, we’re here to help. Contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors or nurse practitioners.

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