As the mild weather turns colder it can be harder than ever to stick to your workout regimen. Add in pandemic worries about the close breathing of fellow exercisers and safety protocols at your gym and you might be tempted to hibernate until springtime. Caity Davis and Jill Stump, founders and personal trainers at Alexandria fitness studio FitOne, share best practices to stay motivated, whether running the trails or doing an online HIIT class in your living room.
What tips do you have for exercising outside as the weather gets cooler?
Make sure you are dressed but not overdressed for the weather. Breathable, quick-drying fabrics and layers keep you warm but allow for proper ventilation as your body temperature increases. Try a lightweight jacket that can be removed and tied around your waist, a vest to provide warmth without extra bulk and dri-fit tights to allow for sweat absorption. And don’t forget a hat and sunglasses–the rays are still strong in the fall and winter. Make sure to bring water–it’s easy to forget to drink water in cooler temperatures but your body needs it to regulate its core temperature.
The best warm-up for an outdoor workout mimics the activity you are preparing to do. Start a run or sprint workout with a brisk 5-minute walk, then transition into a 3 to 5 minute jog before moving into your tempo run or sprints. Work any stretches into the end of your workout, ideally active stretches where specific muscles contract to take you into the position while the opposing muscles create length.
How about mask considerations?
As you work out, your heart rate and breathing increase, making it even more important to keep your airways covered and protected. Masks should always be worn inside gyms and for outdoor workouts when you are in close proximity to others. Remember that a mask can make workouts, especially aerobic exercise, feel harder, so you may need to scale your tempo down a bit as you get used to wearing one. (If you suffer from asthma, this will make working out in a mask even harder.) Choose a mask made of a dri-fit or wicking fabric to help keep sweat and ventilation under control. Look for one that sits up and off the face for added comfort and breathability, with a head strap to alleviate pressure on the back of the ears that can be wrapped around a ponytail for more comfort and an anti-microbial filter. We like the UA Sportmask and the Made to Move Mask.
How can you work out safely at a gym?
Safety and cleaning protocols and products should be listed on the facility’s website. Make sure your gym has a good ventilation and circulation system including running fans, open doors/screens/windows and high-grade air filters. Sanitizing and disinfecting cleaners should be used frequently to insure hard and soft surfaces are being properly cleaned and disinfected between uses. Gloves, wipes, touchless hand sanitizers and soap dispensers should be a standard. Cardio equipment should be spaced 10 feet apart and trainers should be maintaining a 10-foot distance from clients. Bathrooms should be cleaned between uses and trainers and staff should all be masked up and stay socially distant. Avoid crowded spaces: the more people, the higher the risk!
How about getting a good workout at home, even if you don’t have the space or budget?
It’s super easy and affordable to work out from home these days. All you need is your body and a device to connect to your virtual trainer or workout. HIIT style workouts (High Intensity Interval Training) can work well at home and take up little space–think jumping jacks, planks, push-ups and squats in a quick-paced time sequence. Resistance bands are affordable and wine bottles, jugs of laundry detergent, rolled up bath towels or recyclable totes filled with books can stand in for weights to add resistance. Be careful of jumping online for an on-demand class if you don’t have experience with strength training as you could easily get injured. Your safest bet? Invest in virtual personal training with a live trainer certified through ACE or NASM to learn proper form and get a program tailored just for you.
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