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October 29, 2020

Just because the weather may be getting colder, that doesn’t your regular outside exercising regiment has to end! Time spent outdoors is important in any season, especially during the dreary days of late fall and winter. However, there are some extra precautions you will need to take before continuing your outdoor workouts in cool or cold weather. We have some essential tips for exercising outdoors in cold weather that you will need to brave any brisk day.

Know When It’s Too Cold

As an avid lover of the outdoors, you always need to keep an eye on the weather. Plan your workouts ahead of time around the weekly temperatures forecast. Watch out for the lows, especially if you plan to work out at dawn. Dawn, or just before, can be the coldest part of a day since the sunlight has not warmed the air yet. Even if the high temperature seems reasonable, if the low is below your threshold, do not exercise outside until it warms up!

Typically, the lowest temperature in which you can safely work out without getting frostbitten is 5°F. However, do not be ashamed to set your own “lowest temperature” in which you will work out for safety or personal reasons. Working out does warm you up, but your comfort is just as vital!

Learn the Signs of Frostbite

When you start feeling any strange tingling sensations in your fingers, toes, ears, or nose, go inside and get warm immediately. Frostbite is a very real danger for anyone who braves the cold. Even if you are keeping the rest of your body warm with a workout, your extremities will still take the full force of freezing weather. Protect your hands and fingers with warm, waterproof gloves, and wear a cozy hat or headband for ear protection. All clothes you wear need to be water-resistant—no cotton! Wet clothes that keep your body cold can lead to hypothermia.

Your feet are especially in danger because athletic shoes may not function well to withstand cold weather. Typically, they allow warmth to leave and cool air to circulate into the shoe, but during the late fall or winter, having cold feet is hazardous. If you add moisture into the mix, it is a recipe for frostbite. Purchase winter-ready athletic shoes or shoe covers to keep your feet dry and at a comfortable temperature.

Pace Yourself and Know Your Limits

During a workout, it is always necessary to pace yourself. Whenever you exercise in chilly weather or the biting cold, if you do not pace yourself, it can lead to injuries or extreme pain. Cold weather leads to high tension in your muscles. Muscles that are tense from the cold are more likely to strain or sprain during a workout.

The cold weather is harder on your body than pleasant temperatures, so you should take it seriously. Drink just as much water throughout your exercise as you would during hot weather, even if you do not feel thirsty. Do not test the boundaries of mother nature. If you get too cold during your workout, finish it indoors!

Watch Your Breathing

Even when you spend time outside unrelated to your workout, you may notice that the air feels like shards of glass in your airways as you breathe. Working out is an activity that requires proper breathing techniques—especially when the air you breathe hurts. It is not plausible to always breathe in through your nose, particularly when you are pushing yourself. When the temperature of the air becomes too cold, try using a mouth covering or gaiter to keep the dry, freezing air out. A mouth covering will also protect your lips from getting chapped from the act of breathing in cold, dry air.

Do a Quality Warm-Up

Before you begin your exercise in the cold, take time to warm up. You will put yourself at risk for injury if you attempt to work out in the cold without a warm-up. By the end of your warm-up, there should be no stiffness left in your limbs. Use warm-ups that reflect the exercise you are going outdoors to do. For running, perform lunges or jog slowly. Once you have finished your workout, be sure to do cool-down exercises, such as stationary stretches, to reduce pain.

Wear Lots of Layers

The clothes you chose to wear while you work out are the most important parts of staying warm and dry during inclement weather. As a tip for exercising outdoors in cold weather, wearing layers of clothing that you can shed once you warm up is essential. Layers help especially for unexpected rain showers or fluctuating fall weather that can never settle on a temperature. Bring a small backpack or knapsack to hold layers that you remove or other accessories. Make sure that your bag stays dry in case you need to wear any of the layers again.

Your outermost layer should be a jacket and workout pants. Pick a trusted outdoor apparel brand to give you the protection from the elements that you need during an outdoor workout. Some brands of clothes and accessories, like our collection of Arc’Teryx clothing, are specifically designed for outdoor adventures in challenging weather. Your second layer should be clothes you would wear once you have warmed up. You may want a layer of a skin-tight, long-sleeve shirt that will keep you warm, even if it would be hard to take off if you needed to. Buy brands that you can trust to handle the cold weather as well as you can.

Enjoying the fall and winter air with a powerful outdoor workout will refresh you as you switch gears through the seasons. No matter how stressful your life is while indoors, an outdoor workout washes all the stress and mental tension away while you push your body to do more and go further. When you need the best outdoor clothing or accessories to make the most out of a workout in any season, you can trust the collections of Escape Outdoors to keep you equipped.

Tips for Exercising Outdoors in Cold Weather


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