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7 cardio workout tips to try this winter

Tuesday, November 28, 2023 11:39 AM

By NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health

The holiday season is all about indulgence.

Sweets, gifts, parties, food. And the fun often begins even before we roast a Thanksgiving turkey.

Once the glitter fades and the holiday buffets are cleared away, it’s time to get back to basics.

Yes, it’s cold outside, and that isn’t ideal workout weather for everyone.

Winter exercise

But hibernating isn’t going to help you get back to your healthy baseline after the holidays. Along with eating healthy food, exercise will help renew your energy as we move into another new year.

Don’t wait until spring to get moving. Try these cardio workout tips this winter:

  1. First, check in with your doctor.
    If you’ve never done cardiovascular exercise outside in cold weather, check with your doctor about any preventative measures you might need based on medications you are taking or conditions you may have (such as asthma or heart problems).
  2. Learn how to hit your target heart rate. Exercising at your target heart rate maximizes your workout by ensuring you aren’t exercising too hard or too easy. During moderate intensity activities the target heart rate falls between 50-70% of the maximum heart rate, and during vigorous physical activity it’s between 70%-85% of the maximum, according to the American Heart Association. Learn how to find your target heart rate.
  3. Get the local weather forecast.
    Make sure you’re aware of the current weather conditions before heading out. Consider the time of day, length of time outside, conditions and temperature. Keep your phone handy and make sure you have access to water.
  4. Dress accordingly.
    Whether exercising inside or out, dress in layers to allow for temperature differentiation. If outside, wear a hat and gloves to keep body heat regulated and wear shoes that will get you where you want to go effectively and safely.
  5. Try something new.
    If cold weather isn’t your favorite, winter is the perfect time to try a new class or format — tai chi, yoga, racquetball or Zumba will add a twist to your workout. Hire a personal trainer to get a fresh perspective on your workout and stay up to date with the newest equipment and exercises. Learn simple cardio exercises to try from home.
  6. Winter activities can burn a lot of calories, too.
    Hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, ice skating, hockey and football are cardio exercises that can burn anywhere from 400 – 800+ calories per hour (depending on your fitness and intensity level). Whether you participate in one of these activities or have a snowball fight with the kids, get out there and have some fun this winter!
  7. Support your warm-weather activities.
    Post/off-season workouts should focus on physical and mental re-conditioning, improving muscular imbalances and re-establishing range of motion. These sessions should gradually lead you into your pre-season routine while maximizing injury prevention and performance gains without overtraining.

From prevention to rehabilitation, the Wellness Center at Northwest Community Hospital provides an integrated approach to health and wellness through fitness and nutrition. Reshape your fitness routine at the Wellness Center.

Your heart is in good hands when you choose NorthShore Cardiovascular Institute. Learn more about our high-quality heart care.