Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Tips for warming up in winter

Posted: 
Tuesday, January 28, 2014; 2:45 pm ;

Yup. It’s cold out. As a Canadian, Mama Silks says, “Stop your grumbling, get out your tuque and your down coat and get your behind to class.”
Many of my American students may not understand my "Canadian," so here’s an image of the "tuque" our Canadian athletes will be wearing at the upcoming Sochi Olympics.

Photo of a Canadian olympic toque

You should get one and wear one to class.

Just as it’s important to dress properly for the outdoors, it’s also important to dress smartly for the studio. Let’s face it: many aerial studios are big drafty spaces that are hard to heat.

Tips for staying warm and safe as you train

Here are some tips for staying warm, before, during and after class.

1. Wear layers

We love layers! Choose merino wool. It wicks moisture away from the skin, keeping you warm and dry. Different weights are available for different seasons and uses. Cotton gets wet and stays wet. Yuck.

The experts at outdoor outfitters are a great resource. Here’s video from REI's guide to Layering Basics.

 

 

Don’t worry – no one will see your long johns underneath your leggings.

2. Warm up from the inside out

Arrive a few minutes early and do some jumping jacks or other cardio to get your blood pumping. While layers are great, clothes are not a substitute for getting your blood coursing through your veins.

When you start to break a sweat and want to take a layer off, you know your muscles are getting warm.

3. Warm up your hands

Make sure your hands are ready for gripping your apparatus. Stick them in your armpits or between your legs. Or, rub them together quickly like you’re trying to start a fire.

4. The haramaki

My wife introduced me to the Japanese haramaki. It’s a wool band than keeps your waist and lower back super warm. Yum! I got mine at UniQlo last year. You can also wrap a nice warm scarf around your waist.

A screen shot of a place to buy Kokoro haramkis

5. Do dynamic rather than passive stretching.

Dynamic stretching involves active stretches while moving the muscles through movement patterns that mimic those you’re about to do. Save the passive stretching for the end of class.

Active stretching should not be confused with old-fashioned ‘ballistic’ stretching where you bounce in a stretch beyond your normal range of motion. This ballistic stretching is dangerous and can lead to pulled muscles.

6. Socks

Socks can do more than keep your tootsies warm. They are a great training tool for intermediate and advanced students. Once you’ve got a nice secure foot grip, try climbing with your socks on. It’s much more slippery than climbing barefoot. But that’s exactly why it’s a good training tool – you have to develop your foot grip even more. Try your non-dominant side, too!
Here’s a pair of my favorite Icebreaker socks. Note the helpful ‘L’ and ‘R’ to help know which foot is which for those advanced moves.
Heather's socks with L and R printed on them

7. Don’t forget to cool down

After a great class, the last thing you want is to cramp up on the way home when you head back out into the cold. Remember to end class with a cool down to bring your heart rate back down. Do some stretching of your hands, forearms, shoulders, back and legs. Change the layer closest to your skin if it’s wet and non-wicking – otherwise you’ll turn into an icicle!

What are your favorite ways to warm up your body in frigid weather? Send Mama Silk a message and let us all know!

Stay warm and train safe.

Love,
Mama Silk, Heather Hammond

This article was originally published March 9, 2013 on the Heliummm Aerial Dance blog; see the original blog post here.