Tips for Outdoor Winter Fitness

Health and wellness consultant jobs are highly sought out by individuals who train outdoors during the winter months.  Health coach certified professionals can help you prepare for outdoor fitness and help reduce your risk factors of injury and complications due to environmental factors.  Staying dry and warm are the two biggest challenges that athletes face when working out during the winter months.  Here are some tips and personal trainer resources that can help you when putting your fitness ideas into motion during winter months:

  1. Wear layers for cold weather outdoor workouts. Layers help you regulate body temperature to help you stay warm and dry.  Many athletes will dress too warmly when they start their workout because they are cold when they start.  As you begin your workout and get your heart rate up, your body begins to generate its own body heat and then you start to perspire.  If you are dressed too warmly, the base layers will get sweaty and keep the cold and wet material next to your skin, which increases your risk of hypothermia during cold weather training.  Wearing layers allows you to remove excess materials before they get sweaty so you can better regulate moisture and body temperature. Vests, long sleeved tees, hats, gloves, and wicking sweatshirts can help manage body temperature in the winter.
  2. Wear wool-based materials for your base layers. Not all materials are equal year-round when training outdoors.  Your favorite cotton shirt that you wear in the summertime for sun protection and cooling benefits, does not perform well in the winter months in regards to staying dry and warm.  Wool-based materials wick moisture away from the skin so you don’t get chilled when you sweat in lower temperatures.  Wool-based materials also help maintain and regulate your body temperature better than cotton, even when it gets wet!  If you are not a fan of wool-based materials, using them for your base layers will provide a lot more protection and comfort during cold weather training.
  3. Weatherproof your gear. If you are an endurance athlete or distance runner, spending long periods of time training outdoors when temperatures are near freezing can cause your hydration bottles or hydration vests to freeze, leaving you without fluids and an increased risk of dehydration. Be sure to weatherize your gear by using a protective case for your water flasks or the inside bladder of your hydration pack.  Remembering to drink often can also help remove ice crystals that may be forming in the mouthpiece or hoses.
  4. Wear appropriate footwear. If you are a runner, you will want to wear thicker wool blended socks and athletic shoes that can handle the terrain and temperature.  If it’s cold and rainy or there is snow on the ground, wearing racing flats with mesh-like material would not be the best choice.  Wearing a heavier shoe with lugs on the bottom can help you gain better traction and reduce your risk of falling.  Weatherproofed leather or other waterproof materials can help keep snow, sleet, and cold rain out of your shoes. If you live in regions where there is a lot of snow and ice, spikes can be added to winter athletic shoes to help improve traction.  There are also snowshoes and spikes that can fit over your regular shoe for easy transition to winter training.
  5. Get a high-quality glove that can withstand the elements. Gloves should be able to withstand temperatures at freezing and should have windproof material across the front that shield your hands from frost and extreme temperatures.  Some athletes will layer their gloves as well to prevent the glove from becoming wet from sweat.  You can wear a wool-based glove liner under your winter gloves to add an extra layer of protection from the elements.
  6. For added safety, always let someone know where you will be training and what direction or route you will be losing. Intense training in extreme temperatures can sometimes create situations where an individual may get injured, dehydrated, or lost.  Telling someone where you are going and what direction or route you plan to use can help loved ones find you if you need help. Outdoor weight loss training programs and outdoor fitness training does not have to go into hibernation when winter arrives.  Training smarter and taking extra safety precautions can help you get the most out of winter training and competition ready for spring events.

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