Essential tips to avoid sabotaging your winter workout


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Exercising in the winter is a great idea, but just because the temperatures cool down, doesn't mean you can slack off on such healthy workout habits as hydration and stretching. Keep the following things in mind the next time you gear up for your winter workout.

Keep drinking water, even if you aren’t sweating

This might seem like a given, but Robert Kenefick, professor of kinesiology at the University of New Hampshire, has seen an increased risk of winter dehydration.  

“People just don’t feel as thirsty when the weather is cold,” says Kenefick. “When they don’t feel thirsty, they don’t drink as much, and this can cause dehydration.”

Never stretch cold muscles

Stretching while cold can cause tears and pulls in your muscles, which is why William Levine, orthopedic surgeon and director of sports medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, suggests you "start with some mild aerobic warm-ups to get blood to the tissue before doing any stretching."

Taking this precaution — plus adding in some dynamic stretching — will increase your range of motion and decrease your chance of injury both during and after your stretches.

Beware of weight fluctuations

According to Lawrence J. Cheskin, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, surveys have shown an average of a 5-to-7-pound weight gain in winter, mainly because of overeating for reasons other than hunger.

One tip from Cheskin: Eat an apple or small fruit before attending a party or a restaurant.

"When we eat outside the home, studies suggest that we may take in 40% more calories than we would otherwise," he said.