Winter Outdoor Fitness Tips

Woman running in the snow.

It’s winter. It’s cold. Really, really cold. You’re cold walking from the car to the house and can’t even contemplate doing an entire workout outdoors. But what if we could give you some tips to make it a reality? Then you could get outdoors, soak up some vitamin D, breathe in that crisp, fresh air and workout all at the same time. Take a read below – it’s easier than you think!

Man running in the snow.

Check that weather app

It’s always a good idea to check weather conditions before you head out for your winter workout. If there is a snowstorm moving in, it’s probably best to postpone your workout until after the storm has passed. Freezing rain can also cause hazardous conditions for an outdoor workout. Don’t forget to factor in the wind chill temperature as well – frostbite is a real concern regardless of how warmly you are dressed. Remember – your safety always comes first!

It’s all about the right outfit

With the temperatures dipping below freezing, you need to make sure you’re dressed appropriately before you head out for your workout. Now that doesn’t mean wear every sweater you own. Rather, wear layers you can remove when you start to sweat and then put back on as you need them. The first layer you wear should wick moisture away from your skin to keep you dry (think polyester, nylon or polypropylene). Avoid wearing cotton as your first layer, as it absorbs sweat and holds the moisture against your skin which will make you cold. Add a warm middle layer, perhaps fleece, to help keep you warm. Finally, wear a waterproof outer shell to keep you dry from snow or rain.

Bright colors are in and so is safety!

Anytime you workout outside, you should try to wear bright colors. Bright colors will help keep you visible, especially given the short daylight hours we experience in winter. Snow, rain or dark skies can make it hard for other people to see you. For extra safety and visibility, consider reflective gear or a flashing light you can attach to you – and if you’re cycling, a headlight is a must. If you’re out jogging or hiking, make sure your footwear has adequate traction or add removable ice spikes to help keep you safe on icy surfaces. Try to stick to plowed and salted surfaces where possible.

Protect yourself!

Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean you should forget about protecting your skin from harmful UV rays! Make sure you wear sunblock, as you can get a sunburn in the middle of winter. Winter air can also dry out your skin, so you may want to consider moisturizing before and/or after a workout to help protect your skin.

Which body parts feel the cold weather first? Your toes, fingers, nose and ears! So, before you head out, make sure you’re taking care of those extremities. Wear warm, insulated socks, gloves or mittens, a hat or headband, and a scarf or ski mask that covers your nose and will keep you toasty as you work out. Remember if you get hot, you can always take off your mitts or hat.

Man and woman running in the winter on a path.

Start and end on the right note

Your warm-up is a key part of every workout. Before an outdoor winter workout, it is even more important. You need to make sure your warm-up is vigorous enough to increase blood flow to your muscles. This will help decrease your risk of injuries. Post workout, make sure to take the time to cool down properly and not cease all movement all of a sudden. By gradually slowing down your workout, your heart rate and breathing can return to their normal rate. Then you can change out of your damp workout clothes which can make you cold.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Like any workout, make sure you’re drinking water during your winter workout. Staying hydrated is always important, as you’re losing fluids through sweating and breathing. Try to remember to sip on water throughout your workout to help avoid dehydration.

Getting in a winter workout doesn’t have to be hard, if you keep in mind these tips! Stay safe and warm out there 😊

To your Balanced health,
Your friends at The Balanced Company