It’s official, the cold weather has taken hold of Ireland! Cold weather can be discouraging for many people but don’t let the weather interfere with your exercise routine. Here is our cold weather checklist:
Don’t dress for the start of the run: This is particularly important if you are planning to exercise for a few hours. You may feel chilly for the first 10min but as your body warms up it will generate heat. If you're overdressed and are too warm, you’ll end up sweating and risk becoming dehydrated.
Layer up: Wear layers of clothing that can be removed as you warm up and put back on if needed. The base layer (the layer closest your skin) should be well fitted and made a synthetic material, which draws sweat away from the skin. Avoid cotton material which stays wet. The next layer should be a warm material (such as fleece) to provide insulation. A waterproof, breathable outer layer can be worn to protect against wind and rain. You may need to experiment to find the combination that works best for you.
Try to stay dry: The key to staying warm is staying dry. Make sure all layers are breathable and try to avoid getting wet.
Use a running mask or balaclava: These will warm up the air before it enters the lungs. This is particularly useful as you are warming up. Just avoid running past any banks!
Hat and gloves: When it is cold blood flow is diverted towards the core of the body, leaving your head, hands and feet more vulnerable to the cold. Try wearing a pair of gloves, thicker socks and don’t forget your hat.
Sturdy footwear: Paths can become icy at this time of year so make sure your runners are supportive with ample tread to prevent slips and falls.
Warm up and cool down: During spells of cold weather it can take longer for your body to warm up. To reduce the risk of injury, spend a little extra time loosening up muscles and joints before you set off.
Don’t forget water! In cold temperatures people often fail to drink adequate amounts of water but you can become just as dehydrated in the cold as in the heat. Try to drink before, during and after exercising even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Watch the forecast: Have a look at the forecast before heading out the door. If the morning is to be particularly wet or windy then consider going out in the afternoon instead. Take note of wind direction when planning your route.
Be visible (head torch, florescent bib, reflective strips etc.): Illumination is especially important if starting late in the afternoon or early in the morning. The days are still short at this time of year and you’ll want to see where you are going and be seen by motorists if running on the roads.
It is important to note that if you have any pre-existing medical conditions you should consult your doctor before you exercise in the cold weather. Also, be sure to let someone know your exercise route and your expected return time.
So get up, get outside and get going! If the weather has put you off going out, don’t let that deter you, take your workout indoors or join an exercise class.
By Jennifer Nelson