8 essential rules for working out in the winter

It can be tough to find the motivation to do an outdoor workout once winter strikes with low temperatures, wind chill, rain and dark nights. However, don’t let the cold weather deter you from accomplishing your fitness goals – even in the winter.

Read on down below and follow our expert tips to stay fit, warm and motivated this winter.

Dress for the weather

Workout clothes are much more than just for aesthetics – they’re designed for the type of exercise you’re doing as well as the climate and weather that you’re training in. “The most important elements to take into consideration for outdoor workouts are wind chill and precipitation,” says Kaitlyn Noble, a personal trainer. Layers will protect you on a cold, wind-free day, however, wind chills can easily penetrate thinner items of clothes, which is why wind-resistant materials are so crucial. And of course, if your clothes are wet, you’ll have no protection from the frigid temperature, so be sure to wear a water-resistant outer layer when it’s raining. Your workout wear should always be water wicking in the cold too, like with thermal leggings, since sweat-soaked clothes can freeze in really cold conditions.

Active warm-ups

“Imagine a rubber band… it’s flexible, bendy and pulls right back to its shape. Now imagine that same rubber band, but frozen. If you try to pull too hard before it’s thawed out, it’ll snap,” explains trainer Ashley Wilking. Your muscles are like rubber bands, you need to gradually warm them up to prevent injury.Noble suggests starting to heat up your larger muscles, like quads and hamstrings, with light stretching, jumping jacks and lunges indoors before heading outside. If you’re commuting to a class or gym, consider speed walking to get your heart rate up.

Don’t skip your cool down

Make sure to give your body time to cool down and stretch before you rush out of your workout class or the gym. “You don’t want to go from a heart-pumping, sweat-drenched working session, straight into the cold or a sedentary position, like sitting at a desk,” says Wilking. Stretching post-workout is crucial – but particularly after a cold-weather workout to keep your body safe from injury.

While only about 10 percent of your body heat escapes from your head, as opposed to 70 percent as previously believed (just one of the many myths about the human body), wearing a hat in cold weather – especially when doing outdoor activities, like biking, running and even on your daily stroll – is still important. “Choose a hat made of a warm, breathable material that also protects your ears,” says Noble. Your hands are another body part that are likely to feel the chill, which means gloves are a must. Pro tip: Choose a pair with touchscreen fingers, so you’re not taking them off and on to change music.

Protect your head and hands


You may feel like you sweat less in cold weather, but don’t be fooled, you still need to drink up. Dehydration increases your risk of injury significantly and will slow down your performance. Stay hydrated by drinking room temperature water before, during and after your workout. “Many people find that cold water is harder to drink, so by keeping your water room temperature you can hydrate more easily,” says Amanda Kloots, creator of The Rope and The Dance studios.

Since winter months also mean less daylight, your workout is more likely to happen in the dark. Make yourself visible to cars, cyclists and other pedestrians by wearing reflective items, like shoes, backpacks and jackets.

Choose reflective gear

Don’t forget sun protection

Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t get burnt. Don’t skimp on the sunscreen. Continue wearing sun protection during daylight hours, regardless of the temperature.