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To achieve and maintain a healthy life, humans require a few essential elements: a pure, nutrient-dense diet, clean air to breathe and water to drink, love, touch, meaningful connection, and regular physical movement. Following is the first in a series on how to keep fit through all the seasons of your life.

 

By Jason Lewis
February 5, 2018

 

Getting in shape doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and dedication. You need to find motivation day in and day out, week after week. Sometimes this calls for us to get out of bed, lace up the training shoes, and embrace the freezing cold outdoors. Working out during the winter season can be tough, so to help you stay motivated enough to face the cold and get in shape, here are five ways to beat the freeze.

 

1. Layer up
Wearing a jacket is a good start for keeping warm outdoors, but not all jackets are suited for being active outdoors. When dressing for a brisk jog, you might opt for a single large jacket, but bulky isn’t always the best way to go. Wearing a large, heavily-insulated jacket can restrict movement and even overheat your body during a strenuous workout. The better option is to go for several smaller, lightweight jackets. When exercising outside in the cold, you will want to keep out the wind and the wet. Layer up with several sweat-wicking, wind-repelling materials, and use a thin, water-resistant jacket for your outer layer.

 

2. Wear a Hat

Although the head only accounts for about 6% of your body’s surface area, keeping it uncovered can drastically reduce your body’s core temperature. Your head contains a higher concentration of blood vessels. As the blood in your head begins to run cold, it cycles through the rest of your body, significantly lowering your core temperature. The best way to avoid this is simply by wearing a cap on your head.

 

3. Protect Extremities

Here’s another fun fact about how the cold affects your body: As the body’s temperature begins to drop, blood begins to retreat inwards more quickly in order to keep the heart and other vital organs properly functioning. This results in less blood flow to the extremities of your body, such as your toes and fingers.

This could spell bad news for you if you decided to head out without proper socks and gloves on. Other extremities you need to account for are your nose and ears, which is why you should also consider wearing a scarf, headband, or ear muffs to keep warm and prevent frostbite.

 

4. Spice Up Your Pre-Workout Meal

Another trick for keeping warm while exercising outside is to add some “hot” foods to your pre-workout meal. Hot foods (like avocados, oatmeal, beans, and soup will leave your belly feeling warm, full, and ready to take on the day’s exercise. If you’re wanting to energize your body in addition to warming it up, you should also consider what you drink. Hot tea can be stimulating, insulating, and help you burn calories more efficiently.

 

5. Or, Just Stay In

Sometimes, the temperature will simply be too low for you to safely exercise outdoors. When the weather isn’t conducive to outdoor activity, you might try staying inside for a change. Owning your own home gym is an easy solution for keeping fit during the winter. Setting up a gym in a basement or spare room can even save you money compared to a gym membership. Investing in a few basic pieces of equipment, like a yoga mat, resistance bands, a balance trainer, and a couple of dumbbells, will give you everything you need for an effective workout.

When it comes to exercise, consistency is key. You’ll want to make sure that you’re staying faithful to your routine and getting in your weekly workouts. With all of these different options at your disposal, there’s no reason why you can’t find a way to stay active when it’s freezing outside.

 

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

 

Jason Lewis is passionate about helping seniors stay healthy and injury-free. He created StrongWell to share his tips on senior fitness. I invited Jason to contribute a series on fitness for Prasad Nutrition to address our need for movement through all the seasons of life.

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