When the temperature drops, even the most devoted outdoor exercise devotees may be tempted to stay inside. Training in the dead of winter can quite frankly suck- we’re talking icy runs, brutal trail conditions, and workouts in the dark. We’re not here to be all doom and gloom though, here are our tips for exercising in the cold.
Of course, with that it means it’s harder to motivate yourself to get outside, and it requires some changes to how we exercise. However, with a proper warm-up and the right cold weather workout gear, your outdoor workout might just feel — dare we say — a little bit easier and more appealing. (Use this warm up before taking on your Tough Mudder course.)
Cold weather places unique stressors on the body. In addition to a decrease in blood flow, the cold causes a co-contraction of opposing muscles, or what you’ll more likely know as shivering. While you’re not necessarily more prone to injury in the cold, without a proper warm-up, you may be more susceptible to decreased reaction times and impaired movement patterns.
Before you trek outside, perform a dynamic warm-up routine (leave the burpees or sprints for later intervals) – a full body warm up isn’t just a nice to have, come cold weather is a must do.
Why Warming Up Before Your Cold Run Will Result In Better Performance:
- Greater efficiency of joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments.
- Greater range of motion.
- Increased oxygen availability.
- Increased lung capacity.
- Release of stored fat for energy.
- Creates a routine for mental preparation.
Five Warm Up Exercises To Do At Home:
Increase circulation with the following series of dynamic movements, which are designed to increase blood flow and begin to wake up your glutes which are often inactive from sitting.
- Hip circles
- Knee circles
- Leg swings
- Trunk rotations
Now that your muscles are warmed up to exercise in the cold, spend the next two minutes performing this sequence of fast-paced moves:
- Jumping jacks
- Front lunges — focus on the push off and activating the glutes.
- Side lunges
- Squat jumps — focus on landing very lightly.
Last (and certainly not least important) tip: Do NOT forget about hydration, as its just as important in cold weather when you are exerting yourself.
Now that you’ve put in the work and battled the cold to keep up with your training, show it off on a Tough Mudder adventure at an event near you.