Working Out in Cold Weather
During winter we often find ourselves in situations where we want to have a workout or some sort of physical activity in rather cold weather. There are few things that we have to think about during such conditions, but all in all, why not ...?
Updated: February 9, 2021.
First of all, if you want to be physically active in general, especially in cold weather, you have to healthy. Breathing heavily in very cold air while having some heart or lung issues is recipe for disaster. Literally.
Clothing During Cold Weather
Clothes protect the human body from the environment and keep our bodies warm. During cold weather, it is important to put on clothes in several layers. Even then, you have few things to consider:
- is it just cold or it is cold and the wind is blowing
- is there a water in any form (rain, snow)
- is it sunny outside
During cold but sunny days, with no wind, rain, or snow, if you are physically active, you don't need many clothes. In fact, to prevent excess sweating, take off enough of your clothes until you feel comfortable. When a workout or physical activity is over, put on some clothes.
But, during windy conditions, it is very important that the first layer of clothes is suitable for such conditions - it must be wind and water-proof and protect you and the rest of your clothes from getting wet. If you have multiple layers of clothes, and they get wet, no much use of them.
Skin protection during cold days is very important, especially in windy and wet conditions - be sure to have good gloves. Wearing winter caps that protect the entire head and combining them with winter glasses is very also very important for skin protection - such winter caps are also very important for breathing since they allow at least some of the air to be warmed up before entering the mouth and lungs.
Sweating During Cold Weather
Body sweats to remove excess generated heat. If you are physically active and you have 'too many' clothes on, you will sweat. And the 'best' of all, when you stop with physical activity and you don't change your clothes, that moisture will continue to cool your body down and will make you feel rather uncomfortable.
This sweating also causes some minerals to be lost from the body, but not so much as during Working Out in Hot Weather.
To prevent any issues with sweating, be sure to properly hydrate yourself, not only with water. For example, warm green tea (not hot!!!) with some sugar and lemon juice can provide you with an adequate amount of water and give you some energy boost due to sugar (simple carbs!) and green tea ingredients.
Nutrition During Cold Weather
If you are just working out occasionally during cold weather, you don't need to worry too much about your nutrition (assuming that your nutrition is already in check).
But, if you are going to spend plenty of time outside, you must take into account larger energy expenditure during such conditions. Increase your daily calorie intake, but don't just increase carbohydrates or just fats.
Increased intake of protein and healthy fats will help your body to recover quickly from stress caused by being active during harsh winter conditions, while increased intake of fats and carbohydrates will provide energy for such activities. Also, be sure that vitamin and mineral intake follow the intake of macronutrients, just to keep the body going and to keep the immune system in check - getting cold when working out with a weak immune system is guaranteed :)
Supplements During Workouts in Cold Weather
Again, if you workout out just occasionally during cold weather, there is no need to change anything in your supplementation plan (remember, real food is real food).
However, if you are going to spend hours and hours outside, with no or almost no possibilities for a normal, warm meal, be sure to have some Meal Replacement Powder (MRP) with some oats with you - when you get hungry, simply add some mildly warm water and consume it right away. Also, drinking multivitamin pills (as recommended) can give you some energy boost and can help the immune system in keeping your body up to the task.
Anyway, cold can harm your body in many ways, so be prepared and be sure what are you doing.
Rowing in Cold Weather
Rowing outside during cold weather can be a fantastic experience, but one must be very careful.
If the boat rolls over, you are in the water, very cold water, and in such conditions, no matter how strong or healthy you are, you have just a few minutes to get out of the water and change your clothes. Otherwise, you will die - plain and simple. In fact, when rowing body temperature is increased and the body starts to sweat - just ending up in the water is very dangerous since a sudden change in temperature is a huge shock that can lead to heart stroke, even if you are young.
Rowing in cold weather without a support boat and experienced crew, no matter how calm water is, not recommended.
Rowing inside during cold weather - highly recommended - just turn on the AC unit (or whatever you have ...), adjust the temperature as you please, and enjoy your rowing session.