Don't let the cold of winter stop you from exercising outside! For most of us, cold weather means less daylight, less exercise, and more eating. This can lead to weight gain, which can worsen our winter blues. Fortunately it doesn't have to be this way!
Exercising through the winter can not only help you keep the weight off, it can offset the effects of the winter blues. Studies show that exercise can improve mood, especially when done outdoors. Light exposure has a sleep-promoting and anti-depressant effect, and unless your doctor advises against it, there is no reason you can't keep up with your favorite outdoor activities year round.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while exercising outdoors during the winter:
- As always, talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
- Always dress in layers, this will allow you to add or remove layers as you feel hot or cold. You should wear synthetic fabrics to keep moisture away from the skin.
- Always wear a hat, since most of our body heat is lost from our heads.
- Cold weather depresses our thirst mechanism, without decreasing our body's actual need for water. Drink water early and often even if you think you are not thirsty.
- Be aware of your surroundings! Winter months bring ice and snow, so exercise with caution, and in daylight if possible.
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