One of the most common questions people ask is it fine to work out outside during winter or very cold weather? Generally speaking, yes.
Regular exercise no matter the weather is great for your wellness and overall health, especially during winter months — when you’re probably feeling down and sluggish — when working out could help with your energy and mood.
Put simply, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), you can work out during winter, considering that you follow some practical guidelines and above all, dress appropriately.
What to Wear When Exercising During Winter
Regardless of the temperature outside, or what workout you plan on doing, layering your clothes is extremely vital. Different elements such as wind, rain, and snow might call for different clothing items, but dressing in layers is always a must.
When choosing your workout attire, the most crucial consideration is maintaining consistent body temperature. Likewise, layering provides you the ability to improvise your clothing while working out; in case you under or overestimated the weather conditions.
Since blood naturally pulls toward the abdominal area and chest, these parts are typically the warmest areas of the body, so you don’t have to worry that much about this area.
You might want to pay close attention to your nose, toes, and fingers though as you will feel coldest in these areas, and tall socks, gloves, running gaiters, and a face mask will make a huge difference by reducing exposure to these body parts. When choosing materials, opt for breathable materials to avoid pulling and holding moisture to at-risk body parts, which will make you colder.
The Importance of Layers of Clothing
It’s likewise crucial that you manage or improvise your clothing as the temperature outside goes down or up to avoid overheating or freezing. Basically, you should add in layers once the temperature drops and get rid of layers as the temperature rises.
For example, if you wore one of your light Obermeyer women’s ski jackets you got on sale because it was super cold then, don’t hesitate to remove it when you start feeling sweaty and putting it back on when you’re feeling chilly. It’s also important to remember to hydrate yourself and listen to what you’re body is telling you as you go about your workout.
When Exercising Indoors Is the Safest Choice
Although the ACSM states that working out outdoors during winter is generally safe, there are certain situations when it’s best to just stay home and exercise indoors or hit your local gym. One such situation is when the road is covered on slippery snow or ice to avoid slipping.
Another situation is when the wind chill or temperature hits 0 F. When there’s severe wind chill, or the temperature hits the negatives, you run the risk of exposing yourself to frostbite.
Simply put, you can work out outside even during the winter months if you can deal with the concerns raised above, which include moisture, wind chill, and overexposure to the cold.
However, it’s critical to note that if you suffer from a preexisting health issue like heart problems or asthma, get clearance from your doctor first as cold weather might exacerbate your symptoms.