Woman in an orange jacket running along the side of a snowy mountain road.

Warm Up to Winter Workouts

Don’t let the cold weather keep you from staying active and fit. Believe it or not, although the cooler weather does bring its own challenges, it also touts a few unique benefits for your overall health and well-being. If you’re ready to keep pushing forward on your fitness journey during the coming winter months, then you’re in the right place because we’ve got all the information, tips, and advice you need to keep you active and motivated all winter long. 

What are the Benefits of Working Out in Winter?

Winter workouts offer a wide variety of benefits, including supporting mood, improving immunity, and helping you burn more calories. Additionally, it makes your body work harder to stay warm, which helps increase your metabolism. What’s more? Taking your winter workout outside provides a refreshing change of scenery and supports mental health.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these benefits.

Benefits for Your Body

Exercising in colder temperatures offers several benefits for your physical health. For example, one of the most well-known benefits of cold-weather exercise is that it helps you burn more calories. Being in a colder climate means that your body will need to work harder and generate extra heat to keep your body warm. To do this, your body not only activates existing brown fat, which burns calories to help regulate body temperature, but it also can transform white fat into calorie-burning brown fat, which can be helpful for people who are attempting to lose weight.

Additionally, working out in cooler temperatures can help you push yourself further and improve your endurance. When you workout in the heat, your heart rate increases and you sweat more rapidly, which can cause you to become tired more quickly. On the other hand, cooler temperatures are a little kinder to your body, allowing you to push a little harder or work for a little longer than otherwise, which is key if you are looking to up your endurance. Generally, it’s recommended to workout in temperatures around 50 or 55 degrees Fahrenheit as that’s when it’s easiest for your body to breathe properly; however, cooler temperatures can be safe and beneficial too, so long as you take the right precautions.

On top of that, winter workouts also allow you to continue reaping the benefits that are known to come with regular exercise, such as improved cardiovascular health, better sleep, and stronger muscles and bones.

Benefits for Your Mind

Exercising during winter months is an effective way to enhance mental well-being and alleviate the “winter blues.” There are many reasons for this, with the first being that any kind of exercise is known to increase levels of compounds like serotonin and endorphins, which can help reduce your stress levels and improve your mood. Moreover, taking your winter workouts outside can provide a refreshing change of scenery and allow you to soak up some ever-important vitamin D from the sun, which goes a long way toward boosting your mood and supporting your mental health during the colder months. The invigorating effect of cold air has also been found to enhance mental alertness, memory, and decision-making.

Essential Tips for Your Outdoor Winter Workouts

Now that you know the advantages of winter workouts, let’s explore some essential tips you should consider when exercising in cold temperatures.

1. Dress in Layers

Dressing appropriately for cold weather workouts is crucial to ensure your core body temperature remains in a range that is comfortable, safe, and ideal for optimal performance. Layering clothing is key to trapping body heat and staying warm during this time of year. Start with a layer of workout clothes that are made of moisture-wicking materials to keep sweat away from your body so you remain dry and comfortable. Then, over that thin layer, add an outer layer of clothing that is heavier and designed to keep you insulated, such as a sweatshirt, fleece, or wind-resistant jacket. 

2. Think About Accessories

In addition to dressing in layers, you’ll also want to consider the various necessities you want or need for your chosen physical activity. Chances are, you will want gloves, warm socks, a scarf, and other accessories to keep vulnerable body parts warm as well as shoes that are both comfortable and have good traction. Depending on the time of day and weather forecast, you may also want to ensure your outer layer of clothing includes some bright colors. Bright-colored clothing will help increase your visibility, especially in low-light winter conditions, which helps ensure your safety during your workout. As a bonus, bright colors can also help boost your mood, adding an extra touch of positivity to your winter workout routine.

3. Protect Your Skin

It’s no secret that colder weather can wreak havoc on your skin, especially if you are spending time outside. To keep your skin as healthy as possible, make sure you moisturize it regularly. This will help avoid dryness and chapping by keeping moisture locked into your skin. Also, before heading out for your workout, take time to apply high-quality sunscreen to any areas of exposed skin. Yes, your skin can be damaged by UV rays even when it’s cold and cloudy outside.

Keeping your favorite lip balm on hand and applying it consistently is also a great way to ensure your lips don’t get dry or chapped before, during, or after your workout sessions.

4. Drink Up

While cold weather may reduce our thirst and help cool us off during a hard workout, staying hydrated is just as important during winter workouts as it is in warmer weather. Our bodies still lose water through sweat and breathing, so make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. If you prefer, consider drinking warm beverages like herbal tea, as they not only help you stay hydrated but also warm you up from the inside. Using an insulated water bottle or hydration pack can prevent water from freezing, ensuring you have access to a refreshing drink throughout your outdoor workout.

5. Warm Up First

Warming up before your workout is always important, but even more so during the winter months. If you don’t take time before your winter workout to properly warm up your muscles and joints, you will be more likely to injure yourself. Creating a warm up routine that involves various dynamic stretches like arm swings, trunk twists, and air squats, can increase the blood flow to your muscles and ensure that your body is ready for the physical activity ahead.

Outdoor Activities to Embrace the Winter Chill

If you’re the adventurous type, winter is the perfect time to embrace outdoor activities that will help you get your workout in while also making the most of the winter chill.  Let’s explore some of the options for outdoor exercise during the winter months.

  • Brisk Walking or Running. Incorporating brisk walking or running into your winter workout routine can be a great way to keep yourself active in the winter. If you’re feeling up to it, you can even incorporate intervals of high-intensity exercise into your winter walk or run to help you stay warm and increase your calorie burn. 
  • Hiking, Skating, or Skiing. Hiking, ice skating, or skiing during the winter can be a great way to explore snow-covered landscapes and stay active. All of these options are great for getting a fun cardio workout in, but be sure to check on the weather conditions before you head out. And don’t forget to take your water bottle so you can stay hydrated.
  • Sledding and Snowshoeing. If you’re looking to combine winter fun with fitness, sledding and snowshoeing are great options to consider. Both of these activities can help get your heart rate up, engage a variety of muscle groups, and provide a thrilling workout experience that you can enjoy with family and friends.
  • Indoor Workouts. If the weather is extremely harsh or you just don’t feel up to exercising outdoors, you can always opt to get some movement in via an indoor workout. If you have the equipment at home or access to a gym, you can try cycling or weight-lifting. Otherwise, you can try activities like dancing, pilates, or yoga in the comfort of your own home.

Get Your Cold-Weather Workout On!

Winter workouts provide a unique opportunity to stay active and embrace the beauty of the season. Not only do they offer physical benefits like increased calorie burn and improved cardiovascular health, but they also have a positive impact on mental well-being, which is why we consider having a cold-weather workout routine an important part of living the #NewEarthLife. So, don’t let the cold weather hold you back from staying active and enjoying the great outdoors. Go ahead and lace up your sneakers and warm up with a winter workout today!

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