Winter is upon us, but the change in seasons shouldn’t shut down your outdoor exercise routine. In fact, winter can offer an additional incentive to get some fresh air, since many forms of exercise are even more effective in cool weather than they are during spring and summer. If you live in Texas, then it’s those cold months you look forward to exercising outdoors after the extreme heat of the summer months.
Here are four common exercises that get a boost when the mercury drops.
1. Running: Did you know that cool weather is actually ideal for running? It’s true – colder temperatures put less stress on the body than those more common in the summer. Keep in mind, though, that cold-weather running shoes should include two key factors: good traction to keep you upright on slippery surfaces and water-resistant fabric to protect your feet from cold shallow-water crossings or slush.
2. Hiking in snow: If you live in an area that sees regular snowfall, make it a point to get out and hike in unpacked, un-shoveled open areas such as an unused sports field or a wooded grove. This exercise experience is similar to running on the beach, where the sand creates drag, increasing resistance and bolsters the workout intensity. The extra effort you’ll expend in clearing your own path through the snow will burn plenty of calories!
If you don’t live in an area that receives regular snowfall, there are likely locations within driving distance that allow you to hike, snowboard and ski. South Texas is a location that does not receive regular snow, and our top two ski options for locals include Cloudcroft, New Mexico and Ruidoso, New Mexico. Palo Duro Canyon and Big Bend are two other regions that regularly experience cooler temperatures and icy weather, while also offering nature’s breathtaking scenery, making your snow hiking adventure possible.
3. Bicycling: For many people, bicycling offers a great workout while also providing fun – not to mention an easy way to get from Point A to Point B. The cooler winter temperatures will prevent you from becoming as dehydrated as you would in summer. Bicycling in cool weather is often better managed on the wider tires of a mountain bike with lower tire pressure for better traction.
4. Ice skating: On average, ice skating can burn more than 450 calories an hour. What other excuse do you need to lace up your skates? Best of all, this is the sort of routine you can perform indoors or outside. And don’t forget how much fun skating can be. If you’re enjoying yourself, you’re more likely to stay on the ice for longer, thereby reaping the benefits of this frosty activity.
We understand that not everyone lives in locations where they can easily access an icy lake to skate on, but don’t fret. If you live in a warm geographic region you can still find local indoor ice skating destinations that allow you to enjoy the fun and benefits of this activity. Our local San Antonio pick is the Ice and Golf Center at Northwoods. There you will find a fun, family friendly atmosphere and well-maintained skating rink.
Although you may not feel yourself sweating as much as you would in warmer temperatures, keep in mind that no matter what time of year it is, the harder you work out, the more you will sweat. It’s important to wear fabrics that pull moisture away from your skin – the layer closest to your skin should be a lightweight polyester or synthetic blend to allow moisture to dry quickly, and the top layer should be water-repellent. And don’t forget Mom’s advice about wearing a hat, since half the body’s heat is lost through the head. Pair your headgear with gloves and a scarf if needed, and you’ll feel more comfortable – which will make you more likely to get back out there for another workout.
Remember that when exercising in cold temperatures, it’s key to give yourself a little more time to warm up before getting into your workout. Consider jogging in place, walking up and down the stairs and doing jumping jacks for several minutes prior to heading outside.
If you have any questions related to bariatric weight loss surgery, cold weather exercise tips or getting healthy for the New Year, let our experts here at BMI of Texas help you.
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