We are almost into December and in a month’s time all of us would again be taking up new resolutions and goals. Most would be attempting to take up a weight loss goal and commit strongly to achieving it, at least this time. Meanwhile, why not pull up our bedsheets and sleep until its time to get ready to school/work/college? After all, it’s the time of the year when sun is showing pity on us and winter chills are making our evenings pleasant and the nights cooler. Common buddy, its time to pick up the steaming masala chai and sip through it early in the morning instead of punishing yourself in the cold weather outside! This is the feeling that’s settled into most individuals. I don’t think there’s an off-season for fitness nor does it need a vacation every year!
A dip in temperature can discourage even the most hardcore exercise fans and ruin all efforts taken until now. Its not uncommon to hear lame excuses ranging from ‘The cold weather can cause a runny nose’ to ‘I’ve got a busy day ahead’ given every day during the winter season for abstaining from exercising. There are some individuals who go to the gym without missing a day’s workout from January through September. Their activity levels are almost negligible during the rest of the months. It’s understandable that the breezy wind or the everyday chills are great demotivators but with planning you can cruise through winter without much hurdles.
Exercise is for anyone and everyone during any season of the year. But if you are suffering from conditions such as asthma and heart problems it is better to consult your physician before you exercise. The tips here can help you exercise safely and warmly during winter.
Workout wear: Any comfortable clothing is suited while exercising. Sometimes these are not only for aesthetics but also designed to suit weather conditions and sweat expulsion. Its recommended to wear layers of clothes and cover up your nose and heads protectively against the chilly breeze. Never wear wet clothes as these can aggravate chillness and lead to sickness sometime. Cover up your fingers and toes with gloves and socks to avoid frost bites.
Dressing up too warmly is also not advisable as sweat starts leaving the body once you start exercising (this generates heat). Its good to dress in layers as they are easy to remove once you feel sweaty and also easier to wear them back if you feel cold again.
Warm Up: Muscles are flexible and they need to be chiseled in the right way to stay healthy and prevent injury. Do warm up indoors to activate your muscles before heading out. This helps to increase your body temperature and feel warm already before going out. If the gym or activity class is nearby a brisk walk to it is all that is required to warm up your muscles.
Cool Down: After workout you might be sweaty and heading out instantly into the cold weather is all that is required to catch a bad cold. Do simple stretches after the workout to save yourself from injury.
Stay Hydrated: Many have got the wrong perception that drinking water is restricted for summer months. Its quite silly as water is water and staying hydrated is necessary for good health any time of the year. Its only the quantity of water that we drink that varies. You may feel that you sweat less but what you don’t notice is the increase in urine production. Stay hydrated by drinking water before, during and after workout even if you don’t feel thirsty. How much to drink and how often to drink are common questions for which answers are available at www.firsteatright.com.
Apply Sunscreen: The sun might play hide and seek buts its better to wear your sunscreen to protect the skin. Its also necessary to ensure that the shoes you wear provide enough traction.
Despite all these if you still feel gloomy to exercise in the morning try to go for an early-evening or post-lunch workout. Take a quick walk after lunch around your office, do physical activity inside your home when you have time or bring home a friend to dance to some peppy numbers. Rarely, you might face a couple of hurdles that prevent you from exercising. When that’s the case try to at least do aerobic exercises thrice a week but ensure to maintain the pace and intensity. Its better to exercise with a partner during these times as both of you depend on each other. This dependency makes you commit to your health as well as your routine as your efforts impact the other person’s health and none would wish to be a spoilsport.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.