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It’s easy to get out for a run or other form of outdoor exercise when the sun is shining and it’s nice and warm. But what about during the cold, dark and gray days of winter, when you can feel those brisk, chilled winds deep in your bones?

Whether you’ve been a regular outdoor runner for years or you’ve only recently started up a new exercise routine, the freezing temps and foul weather of winter push a lot of people indoors for the season. Outdoor exercise is good for your body and mind, no matter the time of year.

During winter, exercise can help ward off the blues, boost energy, and prevent unwanted weight if you find yourself more sedentary this time of year. And getting out of the house to work out can be extra mood-lifting. Getting outside, even in the cold, allows us to reconnect with nature, break away from the digital and concrete world, and boost focus and creativity. If sometimes, the weather makes you feel sluggish and you can’t work out, at the very least maintain your nutrition through your winter diet. Avoid processed or comfort foods high in calories that the cold weather may tempt you to reach for. You will not only avoid additional weight gain, but you will also be more motivated to exercise regularly if you are eating right.

The right mindset to not give in to the weather is all you need to carry on with your winter workout. Of course, if you have certain health conditions such as asthma or heart problems, it is best to check with your doctor first to review any special precautions you may need based on your condition or your medications.

If you live in a region where it gets very cold, indoor exercise may be a better option. The warmer the environment, the more conducive it is for a workout and the more motivated you will feel to do any physical activity.

Normally in a humid climate, opt for cotton clothing as it absorbs moisture (sweat). But in winter, you want to avoid that because if your clothes are soaked in moisture, it will leave you feeling colder. So go for sports clothing made from cotton-mix or synthetic fibre since they soak 50 per cent less moisture compared to cotton.

Winter or not, a warm-up before a workout is super essential. But in the cold weather, it becomes mandatory. When exercising in colder temperatures, you’re at an increased risk for sprains and injuries. A warm-up will increase blood circulation and the core temperature of your muscles, which can prevent injuries during a winter workout. You can even do some warmup exercises at home before you leave for your workout. This way, you’ll be less likely to feel chilly the moment you step outside.

Winter air isn’t just cold, it’s also dry. To keep your skin from drying out, drink plenty of water during your workouts. It’s necessary to make this a forced habit since you may not feel very thirsty due to the cold weather but your body could still be dehydrated.

If you start feeling cold in between sets, do 10-20 repetitions of body weight squats between 2 exercises. Legs being the largest muscle group will generate the most heat. If you are not used to squats, you can do spot jogging for 60 seconds. This will maintain your blood circulation and prevent you from feeling cold or sluggish.

If you wonder how to work out in winter mornings, try this! It’s easy to cancel your workout if you do it alone. Find a friend, neighbour or co-worker who loves to exercise. A motivated workout partner will help to keep your motivation levels high too.

During winter, at times it can be difficult to muster the motivation to get dressed and leave the house to work out. If you find yourself in such a situation, work out at home. A good bodyweight workout is much better than missing your workout entirely. You can pick your favourite workout video online and follow along. As they say, the best workout is the one that happened! So keep this in mind instead of missing your workout altogether.

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