While some find it easier to get moving when it’s chilly outside, others feel they can’t leave the house because they might get a chill or catch a cold. Not to worry! There are ways to make outdoor activities easier so that you can take advantage of the gorgeous fall colours.
Understanding the human body
Before you begin, it’s important to learn more about the physiological effects of working out in cold weather. Exposure to cold increases vasoconstriction; in other words, it increases contraction of the blood vessels in the skin. This phenomenon leads to increased blood volume in the heart and brain, which raises blood pressure, blood viscosity, and heart rate. As a result, your heart and lungs work harder because they need more oxygen to function in cold temperatures. Nonetheless, these effects should not stop you. Just like in hot weather, there are ways to move outside without any trouble.
It is important to dress adequately when temperatures dip below 0°C. The underlayer should consist of polyester or polypropylene undergarments. The middle layer should consist of polyester or polar fleece to insulate and to improve the transfer of warmth. The outer layer should be waterproof or windproof to remove as much moisture as possible. Finally, don’t forget to wear warm mittens and socks, as well as a neck warmer. When you come in from your activity, take a hot shower to reduce the stress caused by the cold. This will help keep your immune system strong and make you less vulnerable to infectious illnesses.
My favourite trick is to warm up indoors before beginning my outdoor workout to activate the cardiovascular system and increase body heat. Warm-ups can be as simple as a short series of squats, jumping jacks, and dynamic stretches.
Is it necessary to drink as much as in the summer? The answer is yes, and it’s important to be extra vigilant, as the feeling of thirst is not as pronounced. If you feel thirsty, it’s because you are already dehydrated. Drink plenty of water before—and a bit during—your activity. After your workout, why not warm yourself up with a nice hot drink?
Perseverance is key
Rest assured: it is normal to find being outdoors for long periods of time difficult at first. The more often you get out, the more accustomed to the cold your body will become, and in turn, the more pleasant your workouts will be. For example, a construction worker who spends their days outside feels the cold less than a person who works in an office.
In brief, staying active and maintaining good habits despite the cold is key to avoid losing the gains you have made. Avoid using it as an excuse; instead, consider this time as an excellent opportunity to try new activities (hiking, jogging, working out in a park, walking, etc.) and take advantage of the beautiful fall landscape.
Grab your jackets!
 Athlete’s follow-up Working out in cold weather. URL: http://lesuividusportif.com/savoir-et-comprendre/lentrainement-par-temps-froid/ (accessed on September 27, 2018)
 CHOUINARD, R. and N. LACOMBE. Le guide d’entrainement et de nutrition. Courir au froid et au froid. Kmag, 2013, p. 187-188.
I am an enterprising young woman who has had the chance to follow sports teams and work in physical training since 2011. I have been into sports since childhood, and am always looking for new challenges. I love travelling and taking part in outdoor activities. As a competitive person, I also love showing my clients that they are stronger than they think. Having just completed a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a graduate diploma in athletic therapy, I am up-to-date on all the latest research and technologies related to physical training and musculoskeletal injuries. As a health professional, I strive to promote healthy lifestyle habits through my passion for physical activity and athletic therapy.