Working out in the Winter Temperatures

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

It’s so true that you can experience the best workouts when you take yourself out of your comfort zone. This does not mean your temperature!

Living in Edmonton and surrounding areas means we have fall AND winter AND spring that bring colder temperatures. We should not just be active seasonally, but consistently. The weather does not need to hinder us from outdoor sweat sessions, as long as we are prepared for the elements.

  • Dress in layers

  • Hydrate

  • Be prepared

  • Set a goal

When about to embark into the outdoors for a run, a stair workout, a run with some body weight exercises, here are some surefire ways to prepare:

Look at the weather and select clothing for 5 to 10 degrees above projected.

We’re all different when it comes to our usual body temperatures; some people are hot, some are always cold. If you don’t know, you’re likely in between. So, if is shows -15 Celsius, I will dress for -5 since I run hot. Someone who’s always cold should dress for -10.

Layers would look like this for me for a hour run: wicking layer close to skin, top to bottom, then cotton, maybe another breathable layer, then a vest. I also choose cold weather socks or double the socks up with a wicking sock under and wool or cotton on top.

If you’re going to be outdoors for more than an hour or you think the weather may change, it doesn’t hurt to have a source of hydration: water / fuel belt, handheld water bottle or a camelback. At the very least, plan a route that has a facility half way with washroom access or water access.

Prepare for things to change. Gloves and a “buff” are a must. If you don’t need them when you start, you may need them as the weather changes, and you may not need them anymore as you get warmer. Gloves tuck into pockets easily and a buff can be a toque, ear warmer, scarf or anything you want.

When walking out the door, getting off the bus, out of the car etc., you’re likely to feel excited for the outdoor workout ahead. It’s important to set a realistic goal for your time or distance so that you do not find yourself either cutting the workout too short or not prepared for a longer outdoor session. These choices may impact your ability and desire to head outside again for activities in the cooler seasons.

Last but not least , a safe way to enjoy colder temperatures is to be with a partner or a group. There are delightful moderate activities like walking , skating , cross country skiing etc that can meet all fitness levels and be enjoyable. Make it a date. Get out once a week with someone you want to spend more one on one time with in your family or circle of friends. Join a run club, they are free most of the time and will keep you motivated to get into the fresh air, no matter how crisp.

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