Winter is typically the season for trading in Backyard BodyShock classes for treadmills and hot yoga...but this year, more people than ever are braving the cold to enjoy their endorphins al fresco.
Weren't planning to keep up that outdoor sweat fest this season? Maybe these very cool (and seriously science-backed) perks will change your mind:
Cold exposure is stress the body adapts to, and the benefits include less muscle damage, improved metabolism, and lower total-body inflammation, says exercise physiologist Stacy Sims, PhD. Winter is the ideal time for endurance training (long-distance running, cross country skiing, and lengthy aerobic dance routines AKA 60 minutes of intense BodyShocking!). You can work harder for longer because you won't overheat as easily.
So embrace the icy exercise world with these tricks and tips for year-round, fresh-air movers and shakers...
Bring the heat at home. Don't wait until you're outside to warm up. The key is to elevate your core temp BEFORE you hit the cold air. Concentrate on your glutes, calves, and ankles with dynamic stretches like lunges and calf raises.
Focus on your feet. The parts of your bod farthest from your heart are the first to get cold, so before slipping on sneaks, roll your feet over a tennis ball to ensure all the tiny muscles in your soles and toes are awake and ready to work. Then slip on some comfy smart wool socks for the best temperature control while sweating it out.
Drink up. Your thirst response dips during cold temp training by 40%. Be sure to dip something warm, even if you don't feel dehydrated! Pros typically also add a powder hydration mix to replenish their electrolytes, which helps the body absorb more water and allows muscles to function optimally. Think: Liquid IV, or Skratch Labs
Breath. Aside from form, the number one thing to focus on is your breath, because shallow breathing is super common in the cold. To counteract that impluse, concentrate on inhaling and exhaling for four counts each. Bring air in through your nose and push it out via your mouth. That will keep you calm and supply the oxygen you need to power through.