Unfortunately, in many parts of the country, swimming season is behind us until the spring. We’re sure one of your favorite summer activities was an awesome cardio workout—swimming against the backdrop of one of our incredible inground pool liners. However, there is no need to fret even though the temps are plummeting. There are several advantages to working out in cold weather!

First and foremost, there is no heat or humidity to contend with. In fact, the chilly air may make you feel more invigorated. Without the heat, you may also be able to work out longer—and thus burn more calories! You will also get your vitamin D, which can be a challenge in the winter. Finally, you can boost your immunity during cold and flu season.

Before you begin any outdoor activities, remember that colder temperatures, damp conditions such as rain or snow, and strong winds can rob you of precious body heat. It is imperative to dress in layers to provide the body with insulation against the elements. Start with a moisture-wicking fabric, add a layer of fleece, and top with a thin waterproof layer of clothing.

Here are some fun outdoor activities to try:

  • Raking leaves
  • Shoveling snow
  • Brisk walking
  • Hiking
  • Running
  • Ice skating
  • Sledding
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Snowshoeing

While engaging in these winter outdoor activities, it is important to recognize the signs of overdoing it. Hypothermia occurs when your body’s temperature has fallen below 95 degrees Fahrenheit and your body can't produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warm enough. Watch out for the following symptoms: mental confusion, lack of coordination, slowed reaction time, cold hands and feet, shivering, slurred speech, confusion, and sleepiness. Children and the elderly pose the most risk as they may not be able to properly communicate their symptoms or have impaired mobility. Unfortunately, they may not know they are in danger, so keep a close eye on them when they are enjoying the outdoors during these cooler weather months.

Even though it may seem counterintuitive, you must remain hydrated when exercising outdoors during the cooler weather. You may not feel thirsty, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to take a break and drink some water.

Hold yourself accountable. Schedule your workouts on your calendar. Having a workout partner may make your more inclined to not skip a workout. If you prefer to work out solo, monitor the weather forecast. Make sure someone knows where you are at all times, and bring your cell phone so you can reach out to someone if you run into a challenge during your workout.

Staying active in the cold may require you to step out of your comfort zone. Be adventurous! Try something new if you are an avid athlete. If not, start small. Take a walk and make snow angels. While you are down there, do some snow planks of snow sit-ups! Most importantly, have fun and stay safe!