Exercising outdoors is great for your mental and physical health. Whether you are taking a walking break or simply soaking in nature, there are many benefits to moving in the outdoors. However, as temperatures drop and daylight reduces, extra precautions are needed to protect yourself from seasonal elements.
If you prefer to get outside in the early morning or evening, keep moving safely with these winter tips.
1. Choose a well-lit route
A well-lit route is the best option when you’re heading outside in the dark. It might not be your favorite or the quickest route but keep safety in mind! Well-lit routes not only increase visibility but also alert you to hazards. You’re more likely to notice potential environmental dangers such as cracks or slippery items on sidewalks. Consider packing a headlamp or a flashlight with you for added guidance.
2. Layer up with bright, reflective clothing
Wearing brightly colored clothing in the dark protects yourself and others on the road. Wear brightly colored clothing if you have it – white, yellow and orange are great choices – and wear a reflective vest or use reflective gears.
3. Know before you go
Temperature drops, rainy weather or icy road conditions present even more obstacles to your safety. Remember to check forecasts and plan your route before you head out. This is especially important as you take on new trails and neighborhoods. The layer of navigating unknown territory becomes especially tricky when it’s dark outside or conditions change. Uneven sidewalks or a sharp turn in the road can present more danger during the early morning/night time.
4. Stick to the buddy system
Bring someone with you or consider joining a walking, cycling, or running group. Exercise partners can challenge you, give you more support, distract you from the bad weather or keep an added eye out for hazards. If you prefer to work out alone, let someone know where you are going, what your route is, and how long you will be gone.
5. Know yourself and your limits
Consider shortening your outdoor workout or skipping it altogether during extreme weather conditions. Just as seasons change, workouts can too. Know that it’s okay to head home and that there are lots of options to consider from there.
6. Be aware of your surroundings
No matter if you are moving in a group or solo, being alert and aware of your surroundings is important for safety. If you choose to run or walk with headphones on, be sure the volume is at a level you can hear what is happening around you.
The Whole U is here to support your movement journey through all seasons!
Looking for a mid-day movement session, morning strength-training workout or evening Zumba class? These live, virtual classes are great for all fitness levels and anyone looking for a supportive community.
Read these tips for starting or changing your workout routine.
The Whole U also has recorded many of the classes offered so that those that can’t attend live can follow along when they can. Check them out on our YouTube channel here!
Looking for a guide to get started? Check out these self-paced plans for Walking a 5k, Running a 5k for Beginners (this plan is ideal for beginners) and Running a 5k – Intermediate (this plan progresses faster than the Beginner 5k). Once you register for a training plan, you will be able to immediately open the PDF. You can also find them under your Virtual Events tab.