If your upcoming fitness boot camp is going to take place outdoors during the fall or winter months, you may be dealing with factors that can affect your safety and well-being including low temperatures, inclement conditions, and drier air.
Do not miss these essential cold-weather fitness safety tips:
Warm Up (Literally)
All proper fitness boot camps should begin with some type of warm-up phase and this is even more important when working outside in cold weather. Dropping temperatures draw heat out of your muscles making them contract and therefore less pliable. Stiff tight muscles are more susceptible to strain and injury when you jump into high-intensity physical activity without warming them up.
Definitely do not miss the warm-up portion of your boot camp session and even consider doing extra warm-ups before you get there like taking a brisk walk or doing squats and standing elbow to knee repetitions.
While you might be looking to a fitness boot camp to help you slim down, participating in an outdoor one during cold weather months without properly fuelling your body could be dangerous. Consume healthy carbohydrates that your body can burn during your workout will make a big difference in helping you stay warm and energised. Good pre-workout snacks include peanut butter sandwiches, Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, rice cakes with almond butter and banana, dried fruit, oatmeal, and whole grain toast.
Protect Your Skin
Do not let cold, dry air suck all of the moisture out of your skin while you workout outside. Instead, protect your skin by applying products like petroleum jelly to cold-facing extremities like your nose, ears, lips, and fingertips before you head outside. Not only will this help you avoid chapped, broken, and flaky skin, but it will make you more comfortable and less sensitive to dropping temperatures.
Safeguard Your Joints
While the whole basis for fitness boot camps is that you can do most of an effective workout without any equipment, there are still a handful of helpful things that will help you succeed. Proper footwear is critical for participating in any fitness boot camp, but for outdoor ones where you are facing inclement winter weather and potentially frozen, slick, or icy ground, you will want to make sure you have extra good grip and ankle support too. Orthotic aids may also help stabilise and support joints that tend to stiffen up in damp, cool weather, i.e. compression sleeves, knee braces, etc.
You know why layers are even more critical in cold weather than warm when working out outside? They allow you to remove extra clothing as your body warms up and you start sweating more. In the cold, your sweat can put you at extra risk for hypothermia. Even the slightest breeze can compound the cooling effect your sweat has on your body and start dropping your internal temperature faster than your body can produce heat. Shivers, confusion, slurred speech, and shallow breathing are early signs of hypothermia and should be addressed right away to avoid life-threatening complications.
Do not let cold weather scare you away from completing your winter fitness boot camp. Working out in cool air can feel exhilarating and provide a much-wanted respite from the stuffy, overheated gyms you are used to. Just be mindful of keeping your body warm, hydrated, and protected while you are outside.