6 Ways to Maximize Your Winter Workout
Sacrifice style for warmth when it comes to winter fitness? I don't think so.
We all know how tough it is to get your fitness on in the winter. The frigid outside world just looks so much prettier when you're curled up into a little human-shaped ball, huddled deep beneath your covers, watching the snow patter down in flurries to lay itself like a gentle powdery blanket across the ground.
What could be better than watching a gray, drizzly rain fall with a warm cup of tea or cocoa in your fuzzy-mittened hands, while protected behind an icy, fogged-over window? Certainly not stepping out into the cold for a jog or run, let me tell you – especially when you and the rest of the world would much rather be hibernating.
But think of it this way: How much more gorgeous is this icicle-laden world going to look while you're dashing brazenly through it? While the brisk air will never fail to cut through your clothes, it's also positively buzzing with energy – an energy that enervates and awakens your sleepy, dormant soul in a way that warm weather can never hope to do.
Let's face it: You're in love with that feeling, and I'm right there along with you. And it means you're not going to give up your winter fitness anytime soon, so you may as well maximize that workout as much as possible.
Be sure to stretch.
Get the most out of your workout by stretching before AND after exercise. Warming up your body prior to taking that first step outside your house is always a good idea, but in the wintertime? Consider it crucial. I'd say the toughest part of the workout is getting yourself outside, so if your body's already a little warmed up, that can make all the difference.
Alternately, throw your running clothes into the dryer for a couple minutes before stretching those limbs and braving a blustery winter morning.
Layer, layer, layer.
Even a little layer action goes a long way in frigid wintry temps. But be sure to layer smart: For example, incorporate base layers that wick away rather than absorb moisture, so that your clothes don't absorb sweat while you're out and about – which will, of course, make you colder in the long run. That means no cotton T-shirts in the cold. Over that, you'll need a wind or waterproof layer. Fleece-lined ANYTHING will work wonders.
Close-fitting leggings in a synthetic material should be fine for your lower half, unless you're running in extreme cold, in which case you'll want to wear two layers on bottom as well!
Work the cozy chic head accessories.
Depending on how cold it is, add a beanie and gloves with the fingers cut off to your typical legging, long-sleeve shirt and pop-over sweatshirt workout combo, or try a thick winter headband with fuzzy fleece on the inside! We love Violet Love Headbands for that cozy chic snow bunny look. Ski season, anyone?
Invest in cute workout wear.
The better you look, the more you'll want to work out... Right? Seems like a pretty solid investment to me.
Run into the wind.
Start by running into the wind and end your run with it at your back, so you'll avoid being blasted by a freezing gale after you've broken a sweat. If you feel like you need a little more protection for your cold weather run, try products like Kiehl's All-Sport Non-Freeze Face Protector for an extra layer on your skin.
Literally, this wax-based face balm creates a barrier of sorts to protect your face from extreme cold and wind, so while it's decidedly not for everyday use, it's perfect for those gale-force winter mornings when wind chill alone is enough to make you want to stay inside.
Make sure you're wearing the right shoes!
In windy and snowy terrain, you're going to need more grip in those sneaks than just a treadmill. Experts say the less mesh in the shoe, the better – and thick, cushy socks (especially ones that wick away wetness) don't hurt either.