If cold weather is your excuse for avoiding exercise, a slew of local experts has news for you: There are many ways to circumvent the challenges posed by winter exercise and create a great workout strategy even at this time of year. A few of their best tips:
Tim Detmer, owner of Finish It Fitness
Temper your workout to the conditions. If it’s 25 degrees and you’re wearing 15 pounds of clothing, that run isn’t going to be as fast. If there’s snow on the ground, it will require a lot more energy to cover the same amount of ground. In rough conditions, it’s much more about getting some exercise done, rather than trying to measure up to your usual pace and effort.
Keath Hausher, president of Shark Fitness
No matter what time of year you’re working out, the most important thing is to learn the proper technique for your exercise. Form, tempo and stance are all important in order to work out effectively and safely. Once you find a program where you’ll receive the proper instruction, remember that feeling sore the next day is a sign of progress. If you don’t have any muscle soreness, you’re not working hard enough.
Dr. Kanwal Khan, internal medicine specialist at St. Luke’s Hospital
Dress appropriately. Wearing layers allows for warmth, but wearing too many layers during outdoor exercise in the winter may not allow sweat to dissipate from the body. Also, adequate protection for hands, feet and ears is imperative. Consult your physician if you have conditions such as asthma, circulatory issues or heart problems.
Craig Marcacci, owner of CM Fitness
When training outside in cold weather, stop and stretch more frequently and more comprehensively. Stretching the calves and rotating the ankles can prevent injury. Also, stretch the hips, lower back and hamstrings by standing with legs crossed and reaching toward your feet (unless you have a hip replacement). Stretch the quadriceps and hip flexors by standing on one leg and pulling the opposite ankle toward glute. Swing straightened arms in a horizontal plane, crossing them in front and stretching the shoulders and chest as the arms go back.
Reann Ratterman, fitness instructor and personal trainer
Drink lots of water. You may not feel as if you’ve been sweating like you do in the heat, but with the drier, colder winter air you need to replenish your fluids. Also, if it’s a cold blustery day and you need to work out indoors, head to your local gym and try some of the different cardio equipment. Pick three machines and stay on each for 10 minutes or so to get your heart rate up and have fun.
Sarah Tourville, owner of The Dailey Method St. Louis
As winter approaches, people become unmotivated by cold weather. We can provide motivation via group classes, upbeat music and variety. (It’s important for people) to feel like they’re part of a community, and their visit is about getting or staying healthy and also about connecting with different types of people who offer inspiration and support.