Picture this: you’re hiking a trail in the late summer with the sunshine on your face. You’re listening to the sounds in the trees around you while getting your heart rate pumping and feeling the bend of the stony path under your feet. Exercising in the great, green outdoors is a fantastic way to improve your body’s health and feel connected to the world around you simultaneously.
Outdoor Workouts for Any Weather
Exercising outside helps to relieve mental tension, depression, and improve self-esteem. Studies show that people exercising outdoors tend to work out harder while perceiving that they are exerting themselves less than in a gym/indoor environment.
While some people live in a moderate environment year-round, the rest of us outdoor exercisers have to contend with blazing heat, humid, cold/snowy, or seasons of torrential rain.
When the weather gets rough, there are ways to modify and manage exercise to make it happen outside. Here’s what to do to stay fit in hot or cold weather.
For those who live in seasonal climates, we are usually staring out our windows in late winter, waiting for summer to be upon us again. Once it arrives, the heat can become extreme quickly, and humidity can make working out a dangerous sport – heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heatstroke can become severe and life-threatening.
Here are our tips to continue your workouts in the extreme heat:
Train in off-peak hours. The hottest hours of the sun are typically between noon – 3 pm. Stick to the early morning hours before the sun has risen, or the evening hours when the sun has begun to set if you’re aiming to do some strenuous work like running, hiking, or biking.
Wear appropriate gear. Be sure to wear light-colored, sweat-wicking clothes, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat for added sun/heat protection.
Drink water all day long. Hot weather means sweating more than usual, so be sure to drink a ton of water before, during, and after your exercise to stay well-hydrated and avoid getting sick from the heat.
Best Exercises for Hot Weather
The best exercises to do outdoors in the hot weather are water-related, as they’ll help keep you cool. If you’re close enough to a river, lake, or ocean, try out stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming laps. These are all fantastic upper body workouts that will help keep you cooled down while you work.
If you’d like to bike, walk, or run, choose shaded trails to take a break from the heat.
For resistance training, grab a few resistance bands, like these from victoremgear.com. Head to your backyard or a park nearby to perform these exercises in the shade.
Chilly winter winds can feel like they are ripping you in half while running through snow or ice can be a tricky, treacherous endeavor even for young, experienced athletes.
Here are ways you can stay safe while working out in the cold and snow:
Wear moisture-wicking, warm clothing. Sweaty clothes cool down your body significantly, so wear clothing that will wick sweat away before you get too cold. Also, wear proper gloves, hats, and scarves to keep your extremities warm in the ice-cold temperatures.
Do a proper warm-up/cool-down every time. In the winter, your muscles will be colder, which can lead to stiffness and injury. Perform a longer warm-up and cool-down to ensure your muscles are fully ready to start working.
Go against the wind first. If you’re running, walking, or biking, you will want to head into the wind at the beginning of the workout, and then head home with the wind at your back. Why? As we mentioned, sweat cools you down. You want to be least sweaty (at the beginning) when the wind is blowing on you to avoid the wind chill best.
Best Exercises for Cold Weather
Take advantage of snowy weather and have some fun participating in cross-country (or downhill) skiing, snowshoeing, outdoor ice hockey, and skating.
If you plan to head outdoors to hike or walk and it’s icy, consider getting some snow/ice spikes that you can attach to your running shoes to help keep you on your feet.
If you want to continue a biking routine in the winter, lower the tire pressure and bike at an even and consistent speed to avoid sliding.
Exercising outside is not impossible in more extreme weather. Use these rules to continue your fitness regimen while enjoying the world around you safely despite significant seasonal changes in temperature.
-By Joe Dylan