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Exercising in the Winter

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Updated January 01, 2013

Exercise in the wintertime can be tough because the cold weather makes it difficult to be outside for long periods of time. If you regularly enjoy going for a run, walk or bike ride, you may have to find alternatives once the temperature starts dropping. Exercise doesn’t have to stop, however, but you may need to make some changes to your exercise routine.

1. Bundle up

In addition to work-out clothes specifically designed for exercising in the cold weather, you can wear lots of layers including a hat and gloves. Layers can be easily removed or added if you get too warm or too cold.

2. Check out a gym

Gyms can be expensive and intimidating, but using them can be efficient. Visit a few of the local ones and see if there is a woman’s only gym that is close by. You might find a facility where you feel comfortable. Think carefully, though, before signing a long contract; some places require a commitment of two to three years. If you don’t plan on using the gym long term, this may not be the appropriate option for you. The local YMCA may also have fitness equipment that you can use for cheap.

3. Exercise at home

There are an abundance of fitness programs and exercise videos that you can use in the comfort of your living room. It may take some trial and error to find a video that is the right intensity and you should get a few different workouts so that your muscles don’t become used to the exercise.

4. Hit the slopes

Skiing, snow-shoeing and ice skating all count as a workout, but make sure that you are getting the intensity that you need. For example, skate at a speed that is challenging (yet safe, of course!) and will keep your heart rate at the right level. This might not be right for your everyday workout, but can help break up the monotony if you’re able to hit the slopes a few times during the season.

5. Check the weather

Try to pick the warmest part of the day to exercise and plan your outdoor workouts for the days expecting the best weather.

6. Play

On those really snowy days, get outside and play with your kids or friends. Running around in the snow definitely burns calories and is probably more fun then running on the treadmill.

7. Above all, remember safety first

Make sure to exercise safely in the cold. Keep your extremities covered, including your ears, in the extreme cold. Pay attention to how you are feeling – if you start to feel pain, numb or extremely cold, get indoors immediately. Finally, pay attention to the weather, not just the potential for precipitation but the temperature and wind chill as well. Plan an indoor workout if necessary. And of course, make sure that someone knows where you are going and when you will be back.

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