Staying Warm While Keeping Fit in the Hamptons

There’s something about exercising outside that is incredibly fulfilling. Even in the freezing cold.

Forecasters were right—we’ve had a fairly frigid and snowy season on the East End. And clearly the groundhog seeing his shadow last weekend did not mean that spring
is imminent.

The Mayo Clinic has put out a list of tips to safely work out outdoors. As snow always seems to be on the horizon, they still apply to East Enders looking to get in a burst of exercise.

The first key to winter workouts is to dress in layers. The danger with wearing heavy items is that sweat can dry and then chill your body. Dressing in layers allows you to remove or put on warmer items as necessary—a thin layer of synthetic material, a layer of fleece or wool and a waterproof (ideally windproof) outer shell, in that order, are recommended. Breathable fabrics are best, and avoid wearing cotton. (Another perk of wearing additional layers is that you have more pockets to store an iPod or money for a post-run snack!)

Though dressing right may take a little experimentation, always be sure to protect your hands, feet and ears. When it’s cold, blood flow becomes concentrated to your core, and the extremities become especially vulnerable.

For a change of pace from running, the Southampton Trails Preservation Society and East Hampton Trails Preservation Society conduct hikes throughout the East End. Turn to our calendar listings on page 50 or visit southamptontrails.org or ehtps.org for more information.

Above all, check the conditions before you go outside. Consider modifying a workout to account for the weather, paying particular mind to the wind, snow and ice.

I heeded that advice last Friday and dressed warmly for my weekly long run. I usually long run on the weekend, but I pushed it up a day to avoid having to trudge through the blizzard. Good decision.

I woke up with the sunrise, which these days is fortunately not much before 7 a.m., and headed outside in the sleeting rain to get in 70 minutes before work. My favorite gear was definitely a waterproof, fleece-lined jacket that I recently invested in. I had mental motivation for training too, which always helps to ensure that you actually complete your workout. But I wasn’t thinking about my ultimate goal, which is running the Boston Marathon this April. It was an egg sandwich from Ted’s East End Market that I was planning on rewarding myself with afterward.

The run went well, breakfast was delicious and I spent the rest of the day in a satisfying state of calm that comes with accomplishing something so early in the day.

However, unbeknownst to me at the time, Mother Nature would provide me with another way to exercise outside. Shoveling snow is definitely a form of cross-training. And shoveling 18 inches of snow is a real workout. You peel the top layer off, only to find that the bottom layer is a sheet of ice? I can’t remember another weekend when I’ve been overcome by such sheer exhaustion. If Monday talk around the Dan’s office is any indication, we all felt the same way.

After collapsing onto my bed Saturday afternoon, I called a friend in Boston to catch up. But when she asked how I’ve been, I couldn’t think of one thing to update her on. Apparently, snow shoveling numbs your mind, too.

Fortunately, after making her talk for a few minutes, I pulled myself together and could at least tell her about the great long run I went on the day before.

I think my exhausted rambling convinced her to join me on the starting line. Maybe the effects of shoveling snow aren’t so bad after all…

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