5 Pointers for Better Training in Cold Weather

Should you be one of the brave and determined souls that engage in cold weather training, we salute you. No hibernation for the weary, especially when there are resolutions on the mind.

Cold weather training presents its own set of challenges. The body, for one, responds differently to the cold—during preparation, training itself, and recovery time.

Here are five tips for better, safer training in cold weather. Follow these and you’ll be well positioned to train stronger throughout the cold season.

1. Get Enough to Eat and Drink

Just because the temperatures are low doesn’t mean your body isn’t working just as hard (if not harder) than it might during summer. Calorically speaking, your body needs fuel not only to sustain your training routine, but to keep your body arm while doing it. And proper hydration is just as important during winter as it is any other month.

2. Insulate and Regulate

Beyond plain comfort, layering yourself properly can help manage cold weather conditions during training. Make sure to insulate your body so it stays warm, of course. But for longer routines, ventilate intermittently to make sure your body doesn’t overheat under the extra layers. Finally, shield yourself from the cutting wind best you can.

3. Stay Moving, Stay Loose

Cold temperatures can limit blood flow and encourage us to (consciously or not) stay tight and compact to keep in the warmth. While training in cold weather, it is important to maintain circulation throughout the workout. Runners, for example, can windmill the arms, or periodically shake them out. Wiggle the toes, open and close your fists. Maintaining good circulation prevents injury and keeps the body running optimally.

4. Cool Down Sensibly

A cool down is always a good idea, no matter the weather. That’s because after training, the heart is working extra hard and requires time to gradually return to a normal state. Cold weather puts even more load on the heart, so it’s important to get a gradual cool down to reduce risk of heart strain, fainting, or feelings of sickness. But don’t linger in the cold! Cooling sweat can increase your risk of catching a chill.

5. Clear It With a Physician

Vigorous exercise of any kind puts added strain on the body. Because training in cold weather requires more heart exertion, it is imperative that those new to exercise, or living with obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions, consult with a physician first.

Ultimately, the mantra for cold weather training is simple: prepare well and be sensible. The five pointers above should help you train smart during the winter months and be in the best shape of your life come spring.

What is Overtraining? What to Look for and How to Train Smart

Conventional wisdom tells us that the harder we work, the more progress we will make. Put in the extra hours at the office, for example, or study on the weekends, and you’ll be that much further ahead. Same goes for athletics and exercise, right?

Not quite.

What is Overtraining?

As it turns out, too much training can have adverse effects. Though it might seem counterintuitive, working out too hard can harm the body, stunt progress, and lead to injury. Once you reach this tipping point, you might experience overtraining syndrome, or the symptoms associated with training with more frequency and intensity than your body can feasibly recover from.

Signs You Might Be Overtraining

Have you ever gone out for your morning run and said to yourself, “Wow, I just don’t have it today?” Sometimes, you’re just having an off day. It could be sleep related. It might be due to something you ate the previous day. If it’s happening chronically, though, you could be suffering the consequences of overtraining.

Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Mood swings
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Diminished performance
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Incomplete or interrupted sleep cycles
  • Loss of appetite
  • Injury

You can find overtraining syndrome in people of all skill levels and conditioning. People starting new workout or training regimens, for example, are prone to overtraining. In their eagerness to start something new, newbies will often dive into a gruelling regimen headlong without giving their bodies ample time to adjust, recover, and repair.

Overtraining can affect even the highest level athletes, too, especially those with gruelling training programs. Distance marathoners, boxers, and and professional weightlifters come to mind.

No matter what kind of training you do, it’s important to train smart.

How to Avoid and Recover from Overtraining

The problem with overtraining syndrome is that it can be difficult to identify. Many of the symptoms are shared by other illnesses and disorders. If you think you might have triggered overtraining syndrome, it’s important to first seek your physician’s recommendations.

When you do return to training, mark your progress by increments and include rest and recovery days. Some days, it’s best not to do any training at all. And remember that no workout regimen can be successful without adequate sleep and a mindful diet. Here a few other tips to avoid overtraining:

  • Get at least eight hours of sleep a night
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day
  • Always warm up and stretch before exercises
  • Always cool down your body after training
  • Work “off” days into your training regimen

Finally, listen to your body! The human body is a complex machine with built-in mechanisms that signal distress, pain, and overuse. Listen to what your body is telling you, and remember that a “play through the pain” attitude can have serious consequences.

3 Winter Workouts You Can Do At Home

Like most dark and dreary winter days, at-home workouts tend to be boring and uninspired. We thought we’d put together a list of three fun exercise activities that will stimulate both your mind and matter, all while keeping those pesky winter blues at bay.

Here’s our list of three home workouts for winter, including some ideas on how to make the most of whichever you choose.

Jump Rope like a Boxer

In the world of boxing and mixed martial arts, jumping rope is a staple. It’s perfect as a warm up, or as a workout in and of itself. Benefits include improvements in endurance, coordination, agility, and foot speed. Think jumping rope is boring? See if you can make it through twenty minutes, nonstop, while incorporating the following moves:

  • Side swing
  • Criss cross
  • Single-foot hop
  • Alternating feet
  • Scissors
  • Scissor lunges
  • Heal to toe
  • Toe to toe
  • Double unders
  • High knees

As your rope jumping advances, you can try using a weighted rope, or speed rope, to increase the challenge.

Stream it to Your Living Room

When it comes to at-home winter workouts, video search engines like YouTube are a goldmine. Why? Two reasons: it’s free, and the variety is endless. Here are a few search terms to throw into YouTube that will give you a great start at finding what works for you:

  • Dance workout
  • Yoga routine
  • Tai chi routine
  • HIIT routines
  • Core strength routine
  • Kickboxing routine

For each of these search terms, you’ll find plenty of high quality workouts you can do at home.

Use What You Were Born With

Body weight exercises require just one thing: you. And like jumping rope, there is no end to the variety of body weight exercises you can build into your routine. To begin, try putting together a circuit routine with 3-5 of the following body weight exercises.

  • Push-ups (use proper form!)
  • Pike hold
  • Ankle touch push ups
  • Forward and side planks
  • Standard squats
  • Prisoner squats
  • Burpees

Those should get you percolating (that last one is tough!). Here is an excellent, illustrated guide of more than 40 bodyweight exercises.

Tips for Your Winter Workout

No matter which winter workout you choose, here are a few recommendations to help your home workout be more successful:

  • Clear a dedicated space for the workout
  • Limit distractions so you can focus
  • Keep it short and engaging, thirty minutes to an hour tops
  • Spice it up with some music (deep house, anyone?)
  • Invite a workout partner to join you

And finally, don’t look out the window! Because yes, it is still cold and, yes, it still the middle of winter.

If You Are Up For Leaving the House …

Of course, we can’t hibernate the entire winter! And besides, a change in scenery (and a bit of socializing) can do the body good. Did you know that you can book individual sessions on an AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill™ in your area? Use the link below to search your zip code for a facility that offers individual sessions on one of our Anti-Gravity Treadmill products.

Find an Anti-Gravity Treadmill >>

5 Tips for Reducing Joint Pain During Exercise

For most people living an active lifestyle, there comes a time when the joints start talking. It could be the knees, hips, and ankles; or it might be your elbows, shoulders, and wrists. No matter our sport or exercise of choice, we rely on our joints tremendously. And like any other body part, joints are prone to wear and tear, damage, and decline.

While joint pain is often associated with conditions like rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, overtraining, fatigue, and other factors can also cause joint pain. Even one’s diet can have a significant impact on joint strength and dexterity.

5 Ways to Reduce Joint Pain During Exercise

Let’s start here: if you have joint pain during exercise, it’s unwise to just take extra-strength painkillers and power through. Try, rather, to get to the root of the issue. If your joint pain cannot be resolved completely, managing the symptoms is the next best option. And this requires listening to your body and, in many cases, changing your approach to exercise entirely.

  1. Reassess What’s Best For You – There’s a fine line between “just living with” joint pain and doing lasting and irreparable damage. Give your body a rest and go talk to your physician or physical therapist to determine what’s best for your specific symptoms. Your current regimen might be doing more harm than good.

  2. Don’t Skip Warmup Or Cooldown – Besides avoiding injury, a good warmup and cooldown routine can help increase blood flow to your joints and prevent swelling, stiffness, or soreness later on.

  3. Avoid Too Much Repetition – Pounding the pavement on long runs, day after day, can worsen a problem like joint pain. Though activities like running and cycling are beneficial in many ways, it might be time to mix it up a little. Try incorporating a lower impact routine, such as yoga, tai chi, or swimming.

  4. Avoid Overtraining – Mixing up your routine is also a good way to avoid overtraining. Apart from other negative consequences on the body, overtraining can worsen joint pain during exercise. Make sure to get adequate rest between workouts!

  5. Reduce Body-Weight Impact – Excessive body weight and gravitational impact can also intensify joint pain. During resistance exercise, try reducing the weight you are lifting. Another alternative is to take to the water, as buoyancy helps reduce body-weight impact as well.

Related Article: Exercises and Movements for Managing Juvenile Arthritis

A Smarter Way to Reduce Body Weight Impact

While water-based exercises can help reduce joint pain during exercise, the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill can be particularly effective. Using Differential Air Pressure technology, AlterG treadmills allow you to incrementally reduce body weight impact during walking and running exercises up to 80%. Learn more about Anti-Gravity Treadmills from AlterG.