Dear Fitness Coach,
I love exercising, but only outdoors. Whether it’s cycling, running or outdoor boot camps, I keep myself fit. Spring, summer and fall are not an issue, but I cannot seem to find an outdoor winter workout that doesn’t leave me with freezer burn. Oh, and please don’t tell me to find a gym for the winter - it is just not my style!
You do not need to stop working out just because the temp drops: with a few precautions your cold weather workout can be just as, if not more, enjoyable than a mid-summer run. There are even some advantages to working out in the winter: In the cold, you burn more calories because the body uses more energy to generate heat. And because you sweat so much less than you would on a hot, humid day, you are much less likely to become dehydrated. Plus, you can work out much harder in chilly temperatures than in hot ones, as heat taxes the body so much more and the dangers of working out in excessive heat outweigh the benefits.
Some suggested precautions: Make sure you dress in layers, because you will warm up pretty quickly. And don’t forget gloves and a warm hat. Always carry a cell phone and ID, especially if you are snow shoeing or cross-country skiing off-road. Know your limitations: If you have asthma or cardiovascular disease, you are at greater risk of experiencing problems while exercising in the cold.
A 60-minute, full-body functional outdoor winter workout is as close as your own neighborhood. Follow this sequence, with an eye on the time, and just switch the order around when it starts to become stale:
1. Brisk Walk (5 minutes): a dynamic warm-up no faster than 4 MPH.
2. Light Jog (15 minutes): When you feel warmed up, try either to go on a speed-walk at 4.5 MPH or a light jog at 5 MPH.
3. Push-ups (2.5 minutes): Look for the nearest bench or step and place your gloved hands palms-down in a wide position for time. These push-ups will be easier than push-ups on the ground.
4. Tap-ups (2.5 minutes): If the bench seems sturdy enough, step up with your left foot and bring your right foot to tap the bench. Then tap back down and repeat. Do this as quickly as possible.
5. Push-ups (2.5 minutes): Place your hands back on the bench for time
6. Tap-ups (5 minutes): Place your right foot on the bench and tap your left foot.
7. Triceps Dips (2.5 minutes): Have a seat on the bench and place your hands so that they are close to your hips. Push the heels of your hands into the bench and straighten your arms so that your hips lift off the bench and move slightly forward. Then bend your elbows so that your hips dip below the bench and your arms form a 90 degree angle and straighten back up. Repeat this 35 times quickly.
8. Squats (2.5 minutes): Face away from the bench and sit back so your hips brush the bench and stand back up, with or without a little jump as you come up. Make sure to keep your knees behind your toes as you sit back. Repeat this for the allotted time.
9. Triceps Dips (2.5 minutes): Do another set of triceps dips, repeat for the allotted time.
10. Squats (2.5 minutes): Do another set of squats, repeat for the allotted time.
11. Teaser Pose (2.5 minutes) Have a seat on the bench and balance on your tailbone with your legs in the air, straight or bent. Hold for a count of 15. Repeat for the allotted time.
12. Brisk Walk/Light Jog Home (15 minutes) Head home with a brisk walk or jog, making sure to replace some of your layers if you are starting to get chilly.
13. Full-Body Stretch (5 minutes): This can be done indoors for a relaxing finish.