As the year ends, the winter season will begin in the northern hemisphere countries. While winter sporting activities are diverse and as fun as summer ones, many people have a hard time coping with chilly weather. To evade this, they lock themselves indoors snuggling in blankets and drinking chicken soup to stay warm. This should not be the case. While exercising in winter has some potential health risks such as hypothermia, the benefits far outweigh the cons. You can maintain a high metabolic rate and spur weight loss quickly. You will also improve mental clarity and have an enjoyable time with friends, colleagues, and family members outdoors. With that said, what does it take for you to play in the icy temperatures and still stay healthy and active? Here are some of the best ways to approach outdoor sports during winter.
Whatever the season or sport that you enjoy, do not walk out of your home and start exercising immediately. This can predispose you to serious joint or physical injuries, which is not fun. To prevent such problems, you should start all winter workouts with a few warmup exercises. This prepares the body for the upcoming challenge by increasing temperature and heart rate and improving the flexibility of your joints. What you do to warm-up is up to you. However, spending time on a recumbent bicycle is effective and therefore one of the most recommended forms of warm-up for women and men. Doing yoga workouts on an exercise mat or using hand exercisers will also get you ready for outdoor sports in winter. Finally, doing lunges or moving joints and muscles in circular motions can improve your mobility and therefore ability to engage in rigorous workouts without injuring your hands and legs, et cetera. The process stimulates the circulation of blood and other body fluids in preparation for the demanding sport.
Depending on the sport you select for the day, tailor your warmup exercise to correspond with the level of coordination, speed, and strength your joints and muscles will undertake. For instance, you may jog before running or skate at a low pace and short distance before doing cross-country skiing.
Practice Good Breathing
Warming up is critical whenever you are working out in winter. However, you have a put in slightly more effort to have a fun and safe experience the next time you head out. Once your body is warm and you have grown protective gear such as a thermal suite and comfortable snow boots, you are ready to start your outdoor sports session. But how do you go about it? What are the red flags to look out for? Breathing is a critical component of exercising so it is important that work on it before you head and engage in your regular exercises. How you breathe will affect your performance, especially when the weather is very cold. As your activity level intensifies, your heart rate increases, triggering faster and deeper breathing.
Cold air can also damage your throat and lungs. Therefore, practice breathing with your nose as your mucous membranes will warm and filter the air before entering your lungs. A hot meal will also keep your body temperature optimal and will give back your body energy by stimulating metabolism.
While working out in winter, the body takes slightly longer to warm up. However, once it is warm, it will continue to heat up as your activity level increases. As such, once you have finished working out, take time to cool down before you resume your day-to-day activities. A cool-down session is thus part of a healthy workout as it slows down your heart rate and breathing to help the body relax. Find time to gradually lower your pace to relax your muscles and keep them flexible. Jogging and stretching are just a few things you can do.
The following five-minute cool-down protocol also works well:
In summary, engaging in different types of outdoor sports in the cold has the benefit of improving physical stamina and strength. It also boosts your immune system and promotes your general well-being. A few potential risks are involved, but these preventive tips will go a long way to keeping you safe, help you cope, have fun and enjoy your winter outdoor sports!