I love to exercise daily. However, the cold weather really puts me off. I will not go out and run in cold weather, except for the Annual Turkey Trot 5K. Other than that, I suffer through the winter on the treadmill or cross training.
However, if you insist on going out in the cold, it is wise to follow these tips, issued by the Mayo Clinic. Of course, always check with your doctor first before embarking on any exercise program.
- Check Outdoor Conditions.
It is not ok to exercise outside when temperatures are 0° F or less. The weather is just too cold and the risk of frostbite and/or hypothermia are too great. Stay indoors.
- Dress Appropriately in LayersExercise generates heat. However, sweat pulls heat from your body and makes you chilled. Therefore, it is important to dress in layers, starting with a wicking, synthetic layer to draw the sweat away from your body. Cotton is a bad choice, it stays wet next to your skin. Add a layer of fleece or wool for insulation, then a top layer of waterproof, breathable fabric. You can then remove or add as necessary.
Protect your Head, Hands and Feet
When you are cold, your body rushes blood to your core to warm you up. Therefore, it is very important that you keep your hands, feet and ears warm. A good earband/headband to keep the ears warm without overheating you like a full knit cap might. A thin layer, wicking glove, covered by a warm glove that can be removed, protects your hands. Feet should be clothed in warm thermal socks or an extra pair of socks.
- Stay Hydrated
You can become dehydrated in the cold from sweating, breathing, the drying power of the winter wind, and increased urine production, but it may be harder to notice during cold weather. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workout, just as you do in warm weather.
- Think Safety
Winter weather can be dangerous. You need to keep the sunscreen on, even though it is cold – the sun is still lurking somewhere. You need to wear reflective clothing, especially as it gets dark very early. Keeping track of how you feel is important – you may need to do shorter workouts in the winter. And it is always a good idea to let someone know your route and when you will return, just in case something goes wrong.
So, go out and work out. Enjoy your time outdoors but be sensible and stay healthy!