If you want to start the New Year off right by exercising don’t be discouraged by the cold.
Winter running or walking can be exhilarating if you wear the right clothes and observe a few safety tips. Combine it with better eating habits and you have the recipe for weight loss.
• Of course, you have to dress for the cold: a warm cap that covers the ears; well-fitting clothes that don’t flop or bounce when you move (loose clothes will bog you down); the right shoes; fitted long sleeves that don’t let in the cold; and a windbreaker are some recommendations by fitness pros. Consider applying petroleum jelly on your face and hands to protect from wind burn; some even suggest wearing it on your hands under gloves for an extra layer of insulation, especially when the day is particularly nasty
• It might be obvious but avoid puddles. It’s always a good idea but especially so when temperatures reach below freezing. Dry feet will help keep your extremities warm and make your run or walk more pleasant
• Walk or run with a buddy if possible and wear reflective clothing
• If it’s really bad out go to a gym (if available) and run or walk inside
• Take small steps and try to keep your body weight directly above your feet; this could reduce your chances of slipping on icy roads or parking lots
• If you have the time and opportunity, pick a road or path that’s not well frequented by cars to reduce the chance of a car slipping into you. If the area is really deserted you can also run or walk in the middle of the road away from the slush that tends to pile up on either side
• Run or walk as close to the middle of the day as possible, when it’s warmer and the wind is likely to be less chilling. Exercising outside on a sunny winter day is a good way to soak up some Vitamin D and ward off the winter blues, and
• Finally, don’t try to do too much too fast and don’t feel bad about taking a day off.
If you’re exercising to lose weight, as most of us are, it’s essential to also watch what you eat.
Most exercise programs recommend building up to an hour a day of moderate activity four or five days a week. Unfortunately, an extra candy bar or chips each day will eliminate any weight loss benefits: to lose weight you must burn more calories than you take in.
Remember: your weight times the distance equals the energy used walking.
Dorothy Cox of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.