Did you know that the physical and mental benefits of exercising outdoors can be even more impactful in winter? Since more energy is needed to raise your body temperature, cold-weather workouts can help you feel the burn, and the mood-boosting benefits of outdoor exercise can be an especially welcome tool against the winter blues.
With four riverfront miles of running and biking paths, fields and courts – alongside inspiring views of NYC in winter – Hudson River Park is the perfect place to get active outdoors! Here’s a list of tips for enjoying heart-pumping and safe winter exercise in the Park.
Warm up before you head out.
Warming up before a workout is always a good idea – just a few minutes help increase the temperature and flexibility of your muscles. And, it’s especially important for avoiding injury in cold weather, since cold muscles are less pliable and easier to strain. The best warm-up for you will take place indoors and incorporate low-impact movements that mimic your workout.
Know the weather before you go, and plan accordingly.
Always check the forecast for the time when you’ll be outside – and don’t forget to account for wind chill, an especially important factor along the River! Choose your gear according to conditions – for instance, if there’s a chance of slippery surfaces, be sure you wear shoes with strong traction. Respect your own limits; setting a minimum temperature or choosing not to go out in wet weather can help you find joy in your routine.
Keeping warm (but not too warm) during winter exercise is all about choosing layers that will help you stay dry while keeping the elements out and warm air in. Since getting wet is the easiest way to lose heat, consider a bottom layer that wicks sweat, and make sure your outer layer helps protect against wind, rain or snow, as needed. On especially cold days, a middle layer can help trap warm air against your body.
Protect your skin and your extremities.
Getting a sunburn in the winter is just as easy as in summer if you’re running during the day, so be sure to wear sunscreen on any exposed skin. In the cold, blood flow concentrates in your core, leaving extremities more vulnerable. Be sure to wear a hat or ear-warmers, gloves and warm socks to keep your extremities safe and comfortable – and if you’re on a bike, hand and toe-warmers can be helpful accessories.
Staying hydrated while active is always important, and in winter that’s especially true. In fact, cold, dry air can parch just as quickly as heat. Plus, dehydration renders us more susceptible to frostbite. Just bring your reusable water bottle – an easy way to choose Park Over Plastic!
Find a routine that inspires you.
On top of the health benefits of outdoor winter exercise, spending time outside introduces a literal breath of fresh air into the cabin fever of these indoor months. In addition to protecting your body, the key is finding activities that energize and inspire.
For instance, a morning bike commute along the greenway in HRPK features striking views of the city, our piers and the Hudson River. An after-work jog along our four well-lit miles of riverfront features dazzling NYC lights sparkling on the water. Weather permitting, the Park’s basketball, skate parks, tennis courts and turf fields stay open, so you can keep playing your favorite sports all season long.
No matter how you keep active this winter, we encourage you to stay safe and warm – and Healthy on the Hudson! We’ll see you in the Park.