Cold-Weather Exercise Tips

Just because the temperature on the thermometer dips doesn’t mean you have to avoid all outdoor exercise. Running, walking, skating, skiing, and snowboarding are outdoor sports that you can enjoy in the winter – with a few precautions.
First, choose your workout time carefully. Exercising during daylight hours will help you see icy patches more easily, and drivers and other exercisers will be able to see you more easily, too. If you exercise after dark, wear reflective strips and light-colored clothing for better visibility.
Before heading outdoors, suit up properly. Layers are best for trapping body heat, and a hat should be a part of your exercise attire because much of the body’s heat is lost through the head. But be careful not to overdo it – you can actually become overheated from wearing too much clothing. Don’t forget warm socks and gloves.
Whether you’re snowshoeing or running, shoes with adequate traction are important so you don’t lose your balance and risk injury. And don’t forget a scarf or face mask to warm the air before you breathe it, especially if you suffer from respiratory problems such as asthma.
Did you think dehydration was only a problem in the warm, summer months? Adequate fluids are also important in cold weather because they help your body regulate heat, so make sure to drink plenty of water (not caffeine or alcohol) before exercising outdoors.
If you’ve overstayed your welcome in the elements, you may be at risk for hypothermia or frostbite. Symptoms such as pain, burning, numbness, tingling, skin turning hard and white or shiny and grayish-yellow or skin that’s peeling or blistering are signs of frostbite. Symptoms such as shivering, confusion, numbness or muscle stiffness are signs of hypothermia. In either case, find a dry, warm place to recover and seek medical treatment right away.

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