The practice of physical activity outdoors when it is cold is not advisable, on the contrary, training when the temperatures drop, it is an opportunity to work on your endurance, to enjoy the winter landscapes and the invigorating air.
But this is not the time to want to perform!
The colder it is, the more energy the body spends to maintain its internal temperature at 37 degrees. This expense is added to that of physical activity and the body is therefore exhausted more quickly. In addition, in cold weather, the diameter of blood vessels is reduced to prevent heat loss. Our muscles are thus less irrigated, which increases the risk of muscular injuries.
It is therefore wise to take certain precautions.
And if you are prone to heart problems, it is recommended to be careful and ask the advice of your doctor, because the vascular system changes when cold. To stay active in negative temperatures, you can always opt for walking, but without forcing.
Choose a suitable outfit
If you’ve decided to go outside for physical activity in cold weather, dress appropriately. The recommended technique is that known as “onion peels”: several superimposed layers which enclose the air and guarantee good thermal insulation.
5 good reflexes for playing sports in winter
The ideal is to wear three:
- a synthetic fiber undergarment to absorb moisture and wick away perspiration;
- a garment retaining heat like a fleece;
- waterproof clothing.
Avoid wool and prefer outdoor sportswear that is breathable and protects from the rain without weighing down.
Very sensitive to cold, it is very important to protect your extremities (head, hands and feet). Choose a hat made of breathable material rather than wool for the same reasons, protect your hands with fleece sports gloves and finally provide a pair of sports socks with good insulating quality! Avoid overlapping two pairs of socks: by compressing your feet, they prevent blood from flowing and have the opposite effect than expected. This can also cause friction in the shoes.
While warming up is essential before any physical activity, it takes on special importance in cold weather. It is essential to warm up gradually, and longer than usual, in order to increase your body temperature and prepare your muscles for exercise.
To get in good condition, for example before a jogging or a bike ride, you can start your warm-up indoors. Do some stretching of the thighs, calves and arms and jog for a few minutes: you’re ready to start your physical activity session!
Be careful, you often lose the feeling of thirst when it is cold. However, breathing in cold air and maintaining body temperature accelerates dehydration. Before, after and during physical exercise, it is therefore essential to hydrate yourself!
Also remember to increase your caloric intake because energy losses are greater when you play sports in low temperatures. A pasta dish the day before or a few dried fruits are your best allies: they will bring you precious energy to fight the cold!
After the effort: stretch!
As with warming up, the stretching session is essential after the practice of a physical activity. This rule is of course valid in any weather and temperature, however the stretching phase is even more important if you have been doing sports in extreme cold.
This will allow your muscles to cool down and relax gently, thereby limiting the risk of body aches. Perform a series of gentle stretching exercises, emphasizing the calves, thighs and buttocks.
Know how to stay warm!
Last but not least, know how to give up your outdoor sports session when it’s too cold! When the thermometer drops below 5 ° C, staying indoors is safer.
Then prefer indoor swimming pools and gyms where you can run, cycle and exercise without risk!