As we transition into our coldest quarter of the year (with the first stop being the holiday season) it is important to identify the different factors that will support our bodies' preparation, performance, and recovery during these months.
Generally in our state, we do not ever have to close due to weather and have adequate space for people to park close to the facility. A positive note on training within the winter months is that the changes in temperature and air quality strengthen the immune system so you can even benefit from them! In addition, the body counteracts the cold with an increased pulse rate (thermoregulation), which increases energy consumption immensely, making training even more efficient. Nevertheless, it is important that you follow a few rules in winter because the cold can be harmful. As a basic principle, everyone has an individual temperature sensitivity, which should always be taken into account. Such principle should be taken into consideration whether you are doing a class inside if the class has an outdoor element or you are training outside alone.
Below is an outline of 6 tips that can be used when training here at True Core or on your own if training at your house or outside:
1. Warm your body for longer. Just like a car, our bodies take a little longer to warm up in the winter months than they do in the warmer. When possible once arriving at the gym do not stand still, continue to move.
2. Move. During the class do not become static. This also comes into effect when doing strength components. By placing subtle movements on our bodies (shake of the leg, bend of the arm) we do not allow our bodies to stop and decrease blood flow.
3. Layer Up! Our bodies on the average train at a comfort level of temperature that is 10-20 degrees (individual dependent) warmer than the outside temperature (or wind chill). This means that during class you will become warmer, so start warm and reduce layers as you get hot. You do not want to start cold in the hope you will get warm. Cover your head and hands. Through covering your extremities you are able to keep the heat locked in.
4. Support your immune system with a balanced, vitamin, and mineral-rich diet! Fruits and vegetables should already be the focus of your diet. Any form of root vegetables, all types of cabbage, and winter salads such as lettuce, chicory or radicchio should regularly be on your plate. Winter fruit like tangerines, pomegranates, and all-season varieties like pears and apples provide you with an extra dose of vitamins to make you resistant to the cold.
5. Mobilize. During the winter and coldest months of the year, our bodies work harder to keep warm thus requiring more rest than in the spring, summer and fall. With our muscles working harder than normal it is important that we give them the best opportunity to recover through mobility and decrease soreness which could conclude in decreased sleep efficiency. Doing this at night in the comfort of our home gives us a sense of relaxation and closes to the day.
6. When possible, get some vitamin D. If your day allows (and also weather permitted) choose a moment between 11 am and 3 pm to get 10 minutes outside. This window of time is not only the warmest but is also when the sun is best positioned to stimulate the production of Vitamin D. In winter, many people suffer a vitamin D deficiency, a vitamin which is particularly important for bones and joints and in also lifting the spirits!
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