It’s hard to stay motivated to get out there and be active when the temperature starts to drop. Curling up on the couch with a cup of tea, a blanket, and a show to binge-watch on Netflix is often more appealing than getting outside and working out, or even leaving the house at all. Working out outside in the fall and winter may seem like a crazy idea, but it can be surprisingly rewarding, energizing and fulfilling.
There are even some added benefits of taking your workout outside when things get cold. When you work out in colder temps, your body will have to work slightly harder to regulate your temperature, and you’ll burn more calories as a result. Working out in nature during the winter can also help you get adequate levels of Vitamin D, something most people in colder climates don’t get enough of because they spend less time in the sunlight. Low levels of vitamin D can have a negative impact on your mood and energy levels, so getting the sunshine vitamin can help you stay alert and uplifted during a time of year when many people feel the opposite. Plus, working out when most people are hiding out inside is generally just feels pretty badass.
If working out outside when it is cold is something you have never tried before, don’t let the chilly temps deter you. Read on for some great ways to stay fit outside when the temps are less than ideal.
Head out on a hike.
Hiking doesn’t always have to take place when in the summer months. In fact, depending on where you live, hiking is immensely more beautiful in the fall months. If you’re heading out on a hike in the winter just be sure to bring the proper safety equipment with you.
Rake leaves or shovel snow.
Re-frame these boring tasks as a way to work up a sweat and sneak in some exercise. While these chores are not always enjoyable, think of them as a bonus calorie-burning session. Once you see how quickly you warm up it may inspire you to try some other cold weather outdoor exercises. Break up the task with some squat breaks, planks or burpees.
Try a winter sport.
Sign up for a house league hockey team or take some speed skating lessons. These winter sports are huge calorie torchers and trying something new can come with the added bonus of meeting new people and getting out of the house. If skating isn’t your thing, try cross-country skiing or snow shoeing. Both activities are a great way to get out of the city and reconnect with nature, which also gives your mental health a boost that it sometimes needs in the colder months.
Hit the ground running.
While many runners hit the treadmill (known fondly as the “dreadmill” to some) in the colder months don’t be afraid to bundle up and get outside on milder days. Whether you are new to running on a seasoned marathoner, running through the winter can help improve your endurance and perform better in the spring race season. Running is a quick way to get warm when it’s cold outside so give it a shot and you may find that you like it!
If trying something new doesn’t interest you, stick to what you know and continue on with your regular outdoor exercise. Whether you enjoy running, workouts in your local park or power walking on your lunch break, these activities can all be done during the fall and winter. It may take some getting used to and a few extra layers but running in the winter and doing burpees in the snow isn’t all that different from running in the summer and doing burpees in the lush grass (just look out for ice!)
Whatever you do, don’t forget to hydrate properly. That thirst you workup during a sweaty workout may not be as evident in the cold but that doesn’t mean your body doesn’t need water. Hydrate before you start to feel thirsty. When heading outside for a workout, remember to dress for weather that is about 10 degrees warmer than it feels. Before you know it, you’ll be warm and toasty. It’s a good idea to wear layers in case you need to take one off and have a place to keep gloves or hats if you get too warm.
With the right activity and the right gear, you may find that you too can become “one of those people” who exercises outside in the coldest months. Get out there and crush your goals. While most are hiding away you’ll soon realize that the key to success and fitness in the summer months is staying consistent and active during the colder months.