It’s always a good excuse for skipping a workout – but bad weather needn’t stop you keeping fit this winter. Skipping the fitness routine might do more harm than good if you suffer with SAD too, as the positive effects of outdoor exercise, which include preventing depression and reducing stress, are vital when you’re already feeling a bit low. So pull on your trainers and get out in the cold – you’ll feel so much better for it!
Warm up before you go outside, so that your muscles are already pre-warned. Trying to do a warm up when the icy blasts of winter have just hit your face isn’t going to be as easy, and if you get warmed up before you get outside you’ll have a head start. For the first ten minutes of being outside, try taking a 30 second break every couple of minutes to let your body adjust to the colder temperatures.
When it’s really cold, another trick is to stay close to trees and buildings. They will help block any freezing wind and stop you getting quite so wet (depending on the direction) if it decides to rain on you. Open roads and running near water may be prettier but are likely to make you feel even colder! Remember that even though it’s freezing cold, you still need to keep hydrated, too.
If you normally run quite happily outside in warmer seasons, reduce the distance you run in colder weather because your body needs to get used to the change in temperature. To stop yourself from cooling down too much if you stop for any reason, try wrapping a scarf around your nose and mouth to warm up the air as you breathe in.
During winter, you don’t need to spend quite as much time on your cool down routine. Get indoors after a run, have a good stretch once you’re indoors and in the warm, and then have a nice warm shower to get you all toasty again.
If your resolve starts to fail, set yourself targets and treats – if you run three times a week you can book a massage, or if you make it to the gym you get to indulge in a Christmas coffee in a coffee shop when you’re done. And remember – every effort you make helps!
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