Ice, snow, the cold, Yetis, the perils of winter outdoor exercise are many. Pigs in blankets are not the only reason so many of us fail to say in shape over the winter. Sometimes the prospect of an icy, cold workout in the winter is just too much for some. But whilst we can't always help you with the motivation to go outside, we can help you keep safe once you get there. As mentioned, there are plenty of extra factors that make running, cycling and fell walking more dangerous at this time of year. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe as you keep grinding on the roads and hills this winter, regardless of outdoor pursuit.
Whether you're running, cycling, on the road or out on the fells and in the Lake District, you'll need a route. Whilst in summer, it might be joyous to simply set off and see where the mood takes you, you don't want to risk getting lost in sub-zero temperatures or the dark over winter. So plan a route. Where you can, stick to a route that's familiar to you, and make sure you let someone else know where you're headed, and how long you plan on being away. Whilst heading out into more populous areas can present its own dangers, try to strike a balance between a route that doesn't put you in harm's way but isn't too remote. Also, try to be mindful before you set off of potential points of aid should the worst happen. If you're heading a fair way from home, you might want to think about a backup plan for getting home, especially in case of injury. Why not carry some spare change for a bus, or have a contact in mind in case you need to be rescued!
A route is only helpful if you stick to it. Thanks to modern technology, most of can exercise aided by GPS navigation, be it through a smartwatch or phone. If you plan to stick to the roads or well-known footpaths when you're out, then you might not be worried about navigation. But, if you are heading into the hills, be sure to take some kind of electronic aid to keep you on track. Failing that, a good old map and compass will do. This goes hand in hand with route planning, so have a good idea of where you're headed and how you're going to navigate before you set off!
Your attire is important all year round, but in the winter, there are a couple of extra things to think about. If you're out running, make sure you have shoes fit for purpose, particularly if you're going to encounter snow or ice while you're out. Days are very short at this time of year, so with late sunrises and early sunsets, make sure you don some high-vis clothing, especially if you plan to be on the roads in low light! Lower temperatures also mean you need to keep warm, so don't forget your gloves or some good base layers! You could even pick up one of our Kendal Mint Co. Beanies, part of our KMC Christmas bundle this year. Music might help your performance whilst you're out over the summer, but being hit by a vehicle you couldn't hear won't. Again, because of the low visibility, you might encounter, you might want to think about leaving your headphones at home, just so you've got all of your senses at your disposal.
Nutrition is key for any outdoor endeavour, even more so in winter. If you're not out for too long, then make sure you fuel up well before you head out. If you're heading out for a whole day, be it for a long cycle ride or a day in the hills, then as well as pre-workout nutrition, pack plenty of good nutrition for the journey. This is where we can help you. If its good quality sports nutrition you're after, then why not check out our KMC NRG gels, a fantastic blend of carbohydrates perfect for exercise of one hour or more. If you need an all-day solution, our Kendal Mint NRG bars are manufactured by the original manufacturers of Kendal Mint Cake, but we've boosted them with electrolytes and B-Vitamins! If it was good enough for the army and expeditions to the Arctic, it'll probably do the trick for you too.
There are definitely some added wrinkles to outdoor activity during the winter that you should definitely be mindful of. But as long as you plan ahead and bring along the right gear, there's no reason you can't continue pushing your body to the limit during the winter months! We know that there's no better aid to outdoor exercise this winter than our fantastic range of sports nutrition products. Start your KMC journey this winter!