5 Reasons To Warm Up Before You Exercise This Winter -
Geared For Those Who Enjoy Group Exercise Classes and Solo Workouts
By: S. Quadri, Fusion Cardio Toronto
During the winter, many of us will be rushing indoors to avoid the bone-chilling effects of the cold. The winter’s baggage which also includes a lack of sunlight, along with shorter days and longer nights, will make hibernation seem like the best choice of activity. Put simply, the winter climate can make exercising seem like a drag. The good news is that there’s a way to make working out during this time of year easier. The secret is the warm-up.
1. It prepares you both mentally and physically – the music, type of class, instructor, and movements, all help to excite the body’s systems (mind, body, and spirit)
2. It creates energy for the workout – warm-ups help to circulate the blood and deliver oxygen to cells to create energy (ATP) for the upcoming physical activity
3. It Reduces injuries – the increase in body temperature caused by the body’s systems helps to make the joints and muscles pliable and flexible to performing a broader range of motion
4. It encourages success – Warm-ups combine the movements that you will see throughout the session which helps to make the workout easy to follow and enjoyable
5. It creates social opportunities – Joining a group exercise class/physical activity in time for the warm-up gives you the opportunity to choose who you want to workout beside and possibly get to know. If you don’t like working out alone, finding someone like you can help motivate you to return throughout the winter and onward.
If you’re into working out alone, here are some warm-up tips to help you during the season
Tips on How To Warm Up Alone Indoors
- Use dynamic stretches (stretches with motion) (leg kickbacks, arm crosses/circles, marches, brisk walking, spot jogs)
- Avoid static stretching as these are used to encourage relaxation
- Drink lots of water before the workout
- Show up dressed to workout and dress warm, you can always remove layers later
Tips on How To Warm Up Alone Outdoors
- Dress warm - find out what materials are best for the type of workout and are ideal for the cold temperatures that you will be in
- Drink lots of water before the warm-up
- Spend more time warming up the body (before a run, walk briskly, or before a skate, do a few laps)
- Make warm-ups longer to help the body cope with the cold weather
- Take in long deep breaths that will be used to create energy for the upcoming workout
- Plan workouts that are during the day when it’s warmer and on days when it’s sunny. You can view 14-day weather trends on most weather websites.
NOTE: If you’re working out in the winter or early morning, the warm-up period should be longer as the body may be stiff due to a lack of movement. New beginners, older adults, and pregnant women need longer warm-up periods. These groups should always consult with a doctor to find out what is safe for them.
To read more about winter warm-ups and workouts, please do feel free to check out the sources listed below.
- Erickson, Marla, 2014, Components of a Fitness Class, Fitness Instructor Specialist, Canadian Fitness Professionals, p. 109 p. 116.