As the weather is getting colder here in the Netherlands, I thought it would be a good idea to write about the question: Should you exercise in the cold? Calisthenics is often done outside, and with colder weather, it is important to wear the right clothes. This means using the right clothes before but also after working out.
It is essential to keep the body warm to prevent any negative results of the cold attacking your body temperature. Let’s get into some of the things to keep in mind when you are going out into the cold. Or should you avoid the outside at all costs? I don’t think so, you shouldn’t use the cold weather as an excuse and it most cases it’s perfectly safe to go outside, but there are some things to keep in mind.
First of all dress appropriately
Nowadays the right clothing is very affordable, and a lot of research has been done. This means that staying warm doesn’t have to equal wearing heavy clothes anymore.
It can be hard to decide how much clothes you should wear. I usually make sure I’m not freezing when I go out but just feeling a little chilly the first step I set outside. First of all, this motivates you right away to start moving and this way you won’t start sweating heavily when you are in the middle of your workout.
Sweat is of course not a bad thing but especially after the workout wet clothes will go cold quickly. So make sure you are not going to sweat too much, this doesn’t mean you should hold back when you are exercising!
Make sure your clothes are warm enough but also comfortable enough to finish your training still. You don’t want to end up facing an exercise that is impossible due to too much clothing.
Winter usually comes with worse weather. If on the day of training it’s raining or snowing make sure your outer layer of clothing is waterproof. Wet clothes make a terrible training partner and can get more dangerous the colder the weather is. Please make sure you are safe.
If you are not going to run to your workout spot you could consider bringing some extra clothes to put on after the workout.
Darkness is here
Exercising in winter usually equals exercising in the dark. During the day most of us have a job, and before and after office hours darkness is there. What does this mean for your workout routine?
If you include running in your workout regimen make sure you are visible by having some lights or reflective clothing on when you go on the streets. An alternative to the busy roads could be a park, football field or track. With these last options, at least you’ll know you will be safe.
If you are afraid of the dark motivation levels can be to low to start training so why not invite someone to go along with you. Apart from feeling safer, a training partner can be very beneficial to your results. This person can motivate you, and you could add a competitive element, who of you can do the most pull-ups?
The dark makes you feel more sleepy. This sleepiness doesn’t mean you can use the darkness as an excuse. Go out there, invite someone and have fun!
Apart from dressing right, you should also focus on a proper warm-up. Especially during cold weather, the body is even colder than normal. Therefore you should consider extending your warm-up a little more.
Warming up before exercising is always crucial but in the cold muscles tend to be more prone to injuries. This means it’s even more important to have a proper warm-up. Do your normal warm-up routine but consider doing it for another round.
Since blood flows through your whole body make sure every single part of the body is warm even if you are not targeting that part of the body during that day. The warmer the body, the better it will maintain it’s body temperature even outside your core.
During the cold we often neglect hydrating. Not hydrating enough during your exercise in wintertime can have the same effects on your body as not drinking during summertime. This means you shouldn’t go out without water or any other appropriate drink.
In wintertime, the air is usually drier, and during breathing, this will lead to your body to lose more water due to vaporizing.
If you do not hydrate enough, you could get dehydrated, get cramps or increase the risk of injury. When your body is colder, there is a chance you feel like you have to pee more often. This reaction is your body’s way to preserve body heat. Therefore you might feel like not drinking anymore but as mentioned before this could lead to negative results.
If you do not feel like drinking give yourself the rule to take a sip after each set. That way you create a routine and maintain your hydration levels. You could warm up your water bottle so by the time you will start drinking that way it won’t be freezing.
Benefits of working out in the wintertime
The cold brings its challenges but especially in some parts of the world wintertime finally offers a better temperature for exercising. Summer heat finally ends, and temperatures go back to more moderate heights. In the Netherlands, winter can be cold, but most of the time you will still be able to exercise safely.
With winter the days are shorter which means the sun sets earlier and with that daylight goes away quickly. Less daylight also leads to less activity on the streets; people tend to stay home more often and spend the evening inside. This means that most of the bar parks or spots you exercise at will be deserted. No more worries about sharing anymore you will have the whole park to yourself!
Check the weather before going out!
One thing I usually do before I go out in the colder months of the year is checking online for any bad weather. Sometimes it could start raining heavily and you don’t want to be caught up in a storm right after going out. For instance, you could check accuweather. There is also an app available on most platforms so you have quick access to live weather reports.
Maybe it is better to start an hour later and have better weather during your workout. A minute online check could be the difference to coming home super wet or perfectly dry.
One extra tip
You should go out with just the right amount of clothes. You will be a little bit chilly in the beginning as you are anticipating your body heating up during the exercise. This means you are not wearing enough clothes if your workout suddenly comes to an end due to injury or any other reason.
Therefore make sure you are not too far away from home in case you end up with an injury and cannot continue exercising. Staying close means you can get home in time before your body cools down.
Should you exercise in the cold?
Working out during winter comes with some challenges, but the more you do the uncomfortable, the easier things get. Apart from the downsides and some possible dangers, there are some advantages to colder weather too.
Even though exercising in winter can have its advantages I prefer summertime. I don’t mind the extra sweating or the sun on my head.
Don’t be afraid of the cold, embrace it and go for it; don’t let the cold weather stop you from achieving your goals. What is your preference? Do you rather work out in wintertime or summertime? Tell everyone why in the comments below.