Don’t let the cold be an excuse not to exercise. If you enjoy outdoor workouts, you can keep them up all year long despite winter weather. Snow is a great resistance builder—running in snow increases your calorie burn with every stride. Make sure you’re prepared for an outdoor workout with these health and safety tips:
1. Invest in some trail-running shoes or winter cleats that grip the snow. You can find water-resistant models perfect for taking on a snowy trail. Remember, fresh powder is the safest form to run on, and you can avoid dangerous falls by sticking to flat routes.
2. Take shorter strides and move slower than usual. Moving at the pace you’re used to can strain your calves and feet because your toes are more likely to claw the ground to keep your footing. You also have to allow your body to get used to running in the cold.
3. Sunscreen and lip balm with at least 30 SPF are crucial, even in the year’s coldest months. Snow reflects the sun’s harmful UV rays, so be sure to protect any exposed skin with an SPF 30 sunscreen and protect your eyes with UV filtering sunglasses. Even if it’s cloudy, UV rays can pass through the clouds.
4. Don’t get caught thinking thicker is better. When the weather is below 32 degrees, put on thin, wicking layers and leave your sweatshirt at home. This breathable yet warm gear is perfect for a run on a cold day.
5. Stay hydrated. Runners typically sweat less in the winter and are not as thirsty as on a hot summer day. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking 16 ounces of water two hours prior to your workout and another 8–12 ounces about 10 minutes before you begin.
Be safe and enjoy the new challenges of a winter workout!