Is it ever too cold to walk? According to Maillard Howell, Head of Fitness at Reebok, definitely not. But that doesn't mean you can just lace up your shoes and hit the sidewalk when the temperatures drop.
Running in cold weather requires a solid warm-up, proper clothing and gear, and as hard as it may be to drink water when it's cold outside, proper hydration.
"It's only when there's a safety concern that running in the cold should be avoided," says Howell. Good news for those who do outdoor cardio year-round or want a bit of a shake up during the winter months. And with shorter days and less sunlight, a little fresh air is good for the body.
Here Howell gives you his top tips for successful and safe running in winter! So, lace up your sneakers because it's time to run!
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Never miss a warmup again
You probably have a regular warm-up before every workout and already know the importance of not missing a warm-up. Although warming up is always important, warming up when exercising in cold weather such as during B. when running, be more important.
“The cold demands that we put extra focus on preparing our bodies for movement, as our muscles contract in the cold. This can lead to that stiffness that we feel, which is essentially reduced mobility," says Howell.
Proper warm-up actually increases the internal temperature of your muscles, which helps prevent injuries and can even increase athletic performance.
So what type of warm-up is best for training during the cold-weather months?
"Movements that include and involve dynamic movements," Howell says. He continues, "One that warms the muscles of the legs, lower back, calves, buttocks, and arms increases heart rate and increases body temperature." Here's what a dynamic warm-up looks like:
Try two rounds Howells Dynamic warm-up before running
- Air squats at 12 tempo
- 12 body weight good morning
- 12 balls for the hamstring
- 12 calf raises
- 12 climbers
- 12 A jumps
- 12 jumping jacks
Wear the right gear
Running in cold weather requires choosing the right clothing/gear and layering your clothing. "When we're in the cold, our bodies adapt by directing more blood to our core organs, and as a result, the extremities tend to get cold faster because of reduced blood flow," Howell says. Here, “proper socks, gloves and ear protection are important in cold weather,” he explains.
Howell is a fan of a thermal layer, a running layer (his usual running shorts and a t-shirt) and a light windbreaker when it comes to winter clothing.
But not too difficult. “Keep light layers as you don't want to feel too hot once you've warmed up during the run. Heavy layers affect both the comfort and efficiency of your run and can cause you to drop out of the session,” says Howell.
Once the body has warmed up (we heat up pretty quickly during the first quarter of a run), Howells explains that we actually run the risk of overheating if we wear too many layers. "The thermal layer should be moisture-wicking to avoid staying wet." He explains.
Once you find the right gear, you'll be amazed at how much better your cold-weather running experience will be - it's pretty much a science, and it works.
Don't skimp on drinking water
It can be difficult to drink water when it's cold, and Howell himself has made the mistake of not drinking properly during the colder months. "It's a mistake, especially with physical activity like running," he says. "Make sure you have your water bottle handy like you would on your summer runs, and remember that even in the cold, we still lose fluids and metabolites through our sweat."
To make hydration a little easier, try drinking water throughout the day and make it a habit; a cup before coffee, a cup after, and so on.
Grab a lip moisturizer
"It's a small thing, but it can make all the difference on a long run in the cold," says Howell. It's the proverbial "pebble in the shoe" for him, as the elements can wreak havoc on your lips during a run, which can lead to cracking, tearing and bleeding. Tip: Lip balm would be the perfect stocking filler for the runner in your life this year.
Don't wear cotton
As comfortable as cotton is, it can be dangerous when used as a base layer in low temperatures as it doesn't wick sweat properly, leaving you wet and cold and increasing the chances of hypothermia. Instead, opt for "A moisture-wicking base layer that retains heat and wicks sweat away from the body is important," says Howell.
Exercising all winter long is important not only for physical health but also for mental health. By following these important steps before, during and after your runs, your body will stay moving all winter long.