When the weather outside is frightful, you might be more inclined to stay inside and do a Pilates video - or better yet, curl up on the couch - rather than brave the elements. Before you pop in your Sex and the City DVDs, consider all the glorious benefits of working out en plein air! It could be more of a rewarding experience than you think.
Why head outside?
- You'll go longer. Whether you're running, walking or riding a bike, you're more likely to keep moving for longer when you're outside and have all kinds of visual stimuli that are constantly changing. The scenery distracts you from your workout in a good way - not the way those tabloid magazines have you slowing your roll on the gym treadmill.
-You'll burn more calories. As you traverse the open road (or trail, or beach) you might find that you are using different muscles than you use at the gym, and you're working a little harder. Adding hills, rough terrain and running against the wind all boost your workout that much more.
- You'll enjoy yourself more. Working out releases those feel-good endorphins, but so does just breathing fresh air. So, using basic math here... workout endorphins + fresh air endorphins = happiness! A run, walk or ride outside will boost your physical and mental energy, making you feel positively sunny for the rest of the day - even if it snows later!
Braving the elements
Of course, it's easy enough to avoid the stuffy gym when it's 75 degrees and sunny, but what about when it's more like 35 and slushy?
- Check the weather. If it's below freezing or the wind chill is extreme, by all means - take the day off. Cold rain also makes outdoor exercise unsafe. Otherwise, as long as you have the right gear, you're good to go.
- Make sure you're dressed right. You might need some sneakers that are good for snow and ice, or some high-quality workout clothes you can layer. I like the style firm los angeles modern shaping jacket, which is moisture-wicking and slimming! The ability to absorb sweat is important because if you wear too many layers then sweat and cool off, you can become chilled in cold winter temps.
- Layer wisely. Layering is good, but not all layers are created equal. Stay away from cotton, since it becomes very cold when it's wet with sweat. Your torso heats up the most, so focus your energy on gloves, a toasty hat or headband and socks, and then wear a long-sleeved shirt or light jacket.