*(Family Features)—Just because the season has changed, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your workout routine. Here are a few winter workout tips from Aaron Ruth, strength and conditioning coach at St. Vincent’s Sports Performance in Indianapolis, which works with more than 300 professional and amateur athletes. You can stay fit no matter what the temperature is outside.
Don’t Skip the Warm Up – In colder weather, your muscles are tighter, making them more prone to muscle pulls and strains. Spend a little more time warming up your body to help you avoid injury.
Stay Hydrated – When it’s cooler outside, you generally drink less water – but when you exercise, you still sweat and lose fluids and electrolytes. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and during your workout to avoid dehydration.
Dress in Layers – Exercising generates body heat and sweat, and when sweat starts to dry in cold weather you can get chilled. Dress in layers that can be removed when you start to sweat. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material which will draw sweat away from your body. Then add a layer of fleece or wool, and top it all off with a waterproof and breathable outer layer.
Protect Your Extremities – When it’s cold outside, the body tends to concentrate blood flow to the core, which can leave your hands, feet and ears susceptible to frostbite. Wear gloves, warm socks and a hat or headband.
Have a Post-Workout Refueling Plan – What you put in your body after you work out is just as important, if not more, than what you put in it before. After exercising, refuel and rebuild your muscles with essential carbs and protein.
Wear Sunscreen – It might be cooler outside, but you can still get sunburned. Choose sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, and has an SPF of at least 30. Don’t forget to protect your lips with a lip balm that has sunscreen.
Vary Your Routine – Beat the winter workout blues by changing up your routine – and by having fun. Get the whole family moving by doing things together such as building a snowman, going ice skating or sledding, making snow angels, and having a snowball fight.