Winter fitness: How to stay warm and active outdoors

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – With Christmas and Thanksgiving now behind us, some people are already thinking about New Year’s. Staying healthy and fitness goals could be difficult this year with gym access restricted in the pandemic.

Tim Griffin is a firefighter with the Carmel Fire Department and is also a certified personal trainer who says there are a lot of benefits to bringing a workout outdoors.

“The sun and being outside is great for your mood, especially during this pandemic so get outside if you can,” said Griffin.

Griffin adds there are ways to make working out in cold weather more enjoyable. He suggests the first step is to layer up before leaving the house.

“You want to be warm when you step outside but then you want to be able to take those layers off so you don’t over heat,” Griffin advises.

He says to start with a bottom layer, the one closest to your skin, and one that has wicking properties so it doesn’t stay wet when you stop working out.

He also advises workout overalls so you can remove bulky coats while keeping your chest warm.

Increased metabolism is another unexpected benefit to working out outdoors and while Griffin says you won’t burn off all the calories from Christmas dinner, your workout will go longer.

As a first responder, Griffin emphasizes winter workout safety and making sure paths are clear of slick spots and heavy snow. He suggests planning ahead by shoveling snow or salting down pathways as a workout Saturday and then doing your own workout Sunday.

“Grab an extra salt bag and you’ve got a weight to climb stairs or do lunges,” Griffin adds.

So while working out in the cold has benefits, what happens when it gets really cold?

“If it hits subzero you may want to rethink working out outside and bring it inside that day even with proper layering,” said Griffin.