As the weather in the Greater Rochester area changes, our bodies may want to go into “hibernation mode”–mine does! I’d much rather curl up on the couch with a blanket and a good book than bundle up for a run in the chilly outdoors, where I can see my breath! But it’s so important to keep your good movement momentum going year-round so I thought I’d take some time to share a few of my favorite tips for staying active even when cozy and comfortable are calling your name.
Tip 1: Dress in layers for outdoor activities
Layer up to stay comfortable throughout your entire workout. Layering clothing helps to regulate your body temperature by allowing you to take layers on and off as your activity level or the weather changes.
Try The Three Layer Strategy:
Base layer (bottom layer):
This “next to skin” layer should be a material that fits closely to your body and has the ability to wick sweat away from your skin. Many people choose polyester or other synthetic materials for their base layer because they work well without adding bulk.
Middle layer (insulating layer):
The job of the middle layer is to keep you warm and toasty by retaining your body heat. A fleece zip-up or a lightweight down jacket are great middle layer choices.
Outer layer (shell layer):
While the middle layer is there to keep you warm, the purpose of the outer layer is to keep you dry! Your outer layer shields you from wind and rain. You’ll want a shell layer that is both water resistant/waterproof and wind resistant/windproof.
I recommend bringing all three layers with you. Even if you don’t need the outer layer when you leave the house, tie it around your waist or carry it in a lightweight backpack–it may come in handy while you’re out! You always can remove layers if you heat up, but you can’t put on layers that you didn’t bring along.
Tip 2: Give yourself ample time to warm up and stretch
It takes longer to get your body warmed up on chillier days. When the temperature drops, tune in to your body and notice any areas that may be feeling stiffer. Consider increasing your normal warm up time by 5 minutes for chilly weather and by 10 minutes for downright cold weather to avoid straining tight muscles.
Tip 3: Don’t forget to hydrate
Even though we may not feel as thirsty in cold weather as we do when the hot summer sun leaves us craving a cold and refreshing beverage, it’s still just as important to stay hydrated. This may mean that we need to be even more intentional about drinking fluids throughout the day.
Give this strategy a try:
Fill up a 32 oz water bottle and leave it on your nightstand at night. When you wake up, sit on the edge of the bed and take a big sip (or three!) before you even stand up.
Set an intention to finish the bottle before lunchtime. Fill up the empty bottle with your lunch.
Aim to finish this second bottle shortly after dinner to help avoid nighttime bathroom trips.
Hydromate makes a great time marker water bottle to help you stay on track with this method. Check it out here.
Tip 4: Have a movement plan B
Sometimes Rochester weather makes it downright impossible to exercise outdoors. When your plan gets derailed by subzero temps or a hail storm, have a backup plan so you don’t end up altogether ditching exercise that day. Pole walking meet-up cancelled? Cue up one of our free workout videos on YouTube or Facebook instead.
Tip 5: Link your effort to an enjoyable reward
I am a huge fan of treating exercise like it’s a treat! After all, moving your body is such a gift to your current and future self. Although you know that exercise is incredibly beneficial and will help you feel your best, sometimes it can be tough to find the motivation to just get started. On those challenging days, I’m a fan of linking the exercise behavior to a reward that you’ll definitely look forward to. Maybe you’ll choose to swing by your favorite breakfast spot after class? Enjoy a warm apple cider while foliage peeping? Or Facetime with your grandchild? The more “feel good” emotions you surround your exercise routine with, the more likely you will be to stick with it!