Hero image pc: Sweaty Betty
It’s freezing. You can hear the rain battering your bedroom window and the wind howling under the crack in your door – it’s not pleasant, but unfortunately we’re not squirrels, so hibernating isn’t an option. The only thing for it is to face winter head-on, and we’re not about to let a little bit of frost/rain/sub-zero temperatures stop us from achieving our goals. Read these winter-proofing tips, lace up those trainers and grab January by the horns!
1) Don’t be scared of snow.
It’s just a little bit of white, fluffy powder – what’s so scary about that? If you’re sensible, snow doesn’t have to throw you off your game. Even better – snow can actually make you work harder. Running on an uneven surface can really boost your calorie-burn, so we say: let it snow! Invest in some trail-running shoes to give you a better grip, and make sure you run soon after the snow falls. If it freezes or becomes packed-down, that’s when you’ll find yourself in trouble.
2) Warm up.
And I don’t mean go inside and sit by the fire. It’s even more crucial to make sure your muscles are ready before you exercise when the temperatures have plummeted. When it’s cold, your muscles take longer to get warm – make sure you stretch all of your muscle groups and take an extra five minutes to make sure you’re really warm – this will limit your risk of injury.
3) Don’t be SAD.
We joke about the January blues, but Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real depressive condition that can affect your moods depending on the season. Exercise has been proven to help alleviate symptoms of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, so getting some endorphins rushing through your body can’t be a bad thing – but listen to your body. If you think you’re suffering from SAD make sure you visit your doctor.
4) Layer up.
There’s nothing worse than starting a run in your favourite uni alumni T-shirt only to have to turn back after five minutes because your hands have turned blue. It doesn’t have to be this way! With warming base-layers, lightweight jackets and cute fleecy numbers, there are hundreds of warm, practical options to keep you toasty while you workout.
5) Head indoors.
If you really can’t hack the cold then maybe take a break from the jogging for a month or two. Join a gym, go swimming, try zumba – or if you really want to warm up give Bikram yoga a go. There are plenty of options to keep fit through winter that won’t leave you with frostbite.
6) Beware of the dark.
Getting up in the dark, leaving the office in the dark – winter sucks. But you don’t have to let dark evenings and mornings stop you from hitting the streets for a workout. Stick to well-lit roads, wear high-vis clothing and always make sure you’re going against the flow of the traffic. It’s basic stuff – but easy to forget!
7) Be realistic.
I’m all for powering through, but if there are gales, storms and weather warnings you may have to admit defeat. Flexibility is key for not losing momentum. Even if you religiously workout in the mornings, it may be best to wait until lunchtime when the sun is out and the frost has abated slightly. It will work out better in the long run.