It is easier to hibernate when the snow is piling up, the wind is blowing, colder weather is on the scene, and blankets seem like a better companion than leaving the house. Cold weather is actually good for the body and mind, it turns out. Working out in the cooler weather can actually be refreshing and healthy. Here’s how to get started.
As many health experts say, almost all forms of movement are healthy. Even when shoveling leftover cookies into your face or eating cake, the health benefits are myriad. If you move outside for long enough and have a healthy breakfast, you can reach your goals faster than if you don’t eat well or exercise. Cold weather sparks some leftover evolutionary trait that helps the body burn calories more efficiently. Our bodies were designed to get up and go. The body fat humans consumed in the days of hunter-gatherer times were meant to help them endure for longer.
Cold Weather Exercises
When working out in the cold, it is best to have some tips handy for how to handle your body. The winter is good but it can also be challenging. Think about the following when going outside in colder weather:
- Get cold weather gear. This seems like a no-brainer but you need gear that keeps you insulated while helping you work out properly
- Put on running shoes and go for a walk or fast jog in your neighborhood. If that does not work, try finding a park or nearby place that feels safe or do-able in terms of getting in a decent work out
- Don’t exercise on the open road. Find paved pathways, sidewalks, or parks
- Know your limits and be sure to stretch before and after any exercise outside
What to Wear
Getting geared up is often as important as what exercises you do outside. It is important to know when you head into the cold and go for a run, you should feel cold. Don’t bundle up and feel warm and cozy. You will get overheated and hot as your body warms up while you work out. The key is layers:
- Base layer: cover your skin and keep it from the elements
- Second layer: protects from the elements depending on first layer
- Include a second pair of tights with insulation for bottoms under a pair of bottoms for outdoor exercise
- Windproof shell for the top to cover and insulate the body
- Insulated vests will do depending if you’re walking, hiking, or running (parkas may be too hot for full on running)
Know Your Limits
The key is knowing your limitations when it comes to cooler weather. Temperature and comfort vary person to person. Experts believe that people with cardiac issues or trouble breathing be aware of this prior to going outdoors. The temperature may feel colder outside but the windchill or other factors might make it even more chilly. Use good judgment depending where you live. When in doubt, find an indoor track or gym in which to workout in until weather improves.
Exercising outside can help with self-esteem, depression, and many other things. It is also good for socializing with others who enjoy similar activities. Never forget that you are on this journey of recovery for yourself so don’t worry about other people or limitations. Try new things, see what works, and hold onto what does and discard what is not working. It is all about the journey of discovery in this new season of life.
A Step in the Right Direction provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. We teach people how to live a sober life through programs, therapeutic support, and evidence-based therapies. Our recovery program is staffed by people who understand the power of addiction. For more information sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702.