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Feature Article Try Six Tips for Exercising During Cold Weather

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By Justin Ostrowski

Winter rain and snow doesn’t have to stop your daily exercise routine, and it shouldn’t discourage you from starting a new routine if you’re committing to a healthier lifestyle in 2017. In this part of Oregon you probably won’t have to worry about frostbite, but you should still make some preparations before you go. Follow these tips to get the most out of your winter workout. 

  • Layer your clothing. If you are wearing clothes that keep you too warm once you’ve hit your stride, you can become chilled as excessive sweat evaporates. Start with a base layer that wicks moisture away from your skin (avoid cotton), followed by an insulation layer of fleece or wool. The type of exercise you do and how cold it is outside will determine how much insulation you need. Top it off with a waterproof, breathable outer layer. Remember gloves and a hat or ear band. Experiment to find the right combination — If you’re not comfortable during your workout you are much less likely to continue.

  • Use safety gear. If it’s dark in the morning or evenings during your workout, use a reflective vest or clothing with reflective accents.

  • Remember to warm up. Use proper warm up and cool down exercises to avoid injury or becoming chilled. Begin warming up by doing light aerobic activity or dynamic stretching (i.e., walking for several minutes, arm circles, high knees, etc.). When you’re finished with your workout, keep your cool down to three or four minutes and then head inside for your stretching.

  • Hydrate. You may not feel as thirsty when it’s cold out, but your body still needs hydration. It’s important to drink water before and after working out, even if you’re not thirsty.

  • Know your limits. Don’t be afraid to choose a workout video or yoga routine when it’s icy or dangerous outside. Exercise should help you feel good, not risk your health.

  • Stay motivated. Find out what keeps you motivated during this time of year and stick with it. Maybe it’s a specific outdoor exercise routine you really enjoy doing. Or a specific goal you want to reach by the spring season. Set your sights on it and keep moving forward into living a healthier life.

Getting outdoors and exercising is a great way to increase your feel-good endorphins, boost your immunity and expose yourself to daylight, which can help with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Don’t let the rain be an excuse!

Want to exercise in climate-controlled comfort year-round? Visit AreYouSamFit.org to find a SamFit exercise facility near you.

Justin Ostrowski, ACSM, CPT, manages the individual needs of SamFit members at our Corvallis, Oregon location such as personal training, health coaching, chronic disease management, weight reduction, sports-specific training, movement screening, nutrition guidance, health assessments, education and program design.