Whether it’s pre-yoga, or ahead of taking a run, warming up is always an important stage. But if you are venturing outside on a cold winters day for your exercise, then it is absolutely essential!
Did you know that in the cold the body’s muscles are designed to contract to conserve heat, making them tighter and more prone to injury?
Hypothermia and dehydration can also be risks to watch out for, so do make sure to drink enough water and keep well covered - especially post workout when you may feel warm and be on the lookout for tell-tale signs such as extreme fatigue, slurred speech and non-stop shivering - and please do seek medical assistance if any of these occur!
BUT the good news about outdoor winter workouts is that the body becomes much more efficient; your heart does not have to work as hard for the same results, sweating is reduced and studies show that hard to shift 'white' belly and thigh fat can be turned into easier to shed 'brown' fats during cold spells. And that’s not to mention the mood boosting benefits of upping your endorphins and getting much needed daylight to ward of any SAD that might be creeping in!
The best way to gain these benefits without risking sore muscles or trapped nerves is to increase your warm up times during the colder months, spending at least 10 minutes on your routine in temperatures below 8 degrees Celsius, adding an extra 10 minutes once it creeps below 2 degrees, and (should the "Beast from the East" revisit us again) adding 10 further minutes for every 6 degree drop thereafter.
The more active your warmup the better so when considering poses to add to your winter warm up routine poses with maximum movement, engaging the whole body, work best; crescent lunges, repetitions of warrior 2 into reverse triangle and sun salutations would all be good moves to get the blood pumping and muscles stretched out ready for action.
Increase your warmup time
Wear a hat, gloves and thick socks to protect extremities, where cold weather can reduce blood flow.
Apply sunscreen (on a crisp clear day UV can be deceptively strong)
Forget to warm up or cut your warm up short!
Forget to cool down after exercising.
Exercise on icy or unstable surfaces
Whatever your plan for moving your body this month, we hope you enjoy! And for those who really don’t fancy braving the cold check out our earlier blog posts for home yoga practice with the wonderful Marta Masiero.