As we enter the fall season and the not-to-distant winter, it makes sense to talk about training in cold weather. Training in the cold is typically not as pleasurable as training in the heat, but then it also doesn’t have the physical problems associated with training in high temperatures and humidities. Although it may take a little time to warm up and get the blood moving in your body, once it is warm you should be fine to train. Here are some tips to help make your training better and prevent sickness during the winter.
- Dress in layers. Wear your kung fu jacket and feel free to wear a long sleeve shirt underneath your jacket on days that are particularly cold. Chances are, however, that once your internal body heat rises after some hard training you will likely feel “overdressed” for class.
- Keep warm during class. Once you have warmed up your body, keep it warm during cold classes. If you feel your body starting to chill when you’re at rest, sit in a stance. You don’t want to cool off a body that has heated and even drenched your uniform with sweat.
- Do not stretch when your body is cold or has cooled off since training. Stretching cold muscles can lead to injury. Be sure to have an elevated heart rate when stretching.
- Dry off completely and put on dry, warm clothes after class. Definitely bring a dry set of clothes to change into after class. This means an undershirt as well as warm sweatshirt or jacket and pants. Use a towel to take the sweat off your head, neck and face.
- Cover your head and neck after class. Keeping your head and neck warm after class is essential to keeping warm and preventing sickness. Putting on a hooded sweatshirt is a good solution. Wearing a wool cap and putting a dry towel around your neck also works.
We train indoors and don’t have to worry about snow and wind, so working out in a cooler room should be no big deal. The steam coming off of your body and those of your kung fu brothers and sisters will quite likely heat up the room during class!