Here are some helpful safety tips you can use for exercising in the cold:
· 1. Warm up inside before exercising outdoors: 5-10 minutes
o Everyone can benefit from a warm up indoors before partaking in physical activity outside
o Especially individuals with asthma and other severe respiratory conditions will benefit from an extended warm up indoors
o This warm up will promote vasodilation (expansion of blood vessels) so oxygen is delivered more efficiently throughout the body
· 2. Try not to over dress
o This may sound weird but your skin needs to breathe and the heat you are generating has no where to escape causing your body to overheat
o Start off your workout wearing layers then gradually remove layers as you start to warm up
- 1st layer light synthetic material ex: under armor
- 2nd layer heavy wool or fleece material for insulation
- 3rd optional layer: water-repellant and wind resistant material
- Avoid cotton material clothing: it absorbs sweat and can cause chills
· 3. Wear a hat and gloves
o The majority of heat escapes from your head
· 4. Exercise choice: Depending on your exercise activity of the day (jogging or intervals) you may want to keep an extra layers on or remove layers
o Joggers may want to strip off extra layers early in their workout to avoid overheating
o Sprinters may want to keep on a layer because of the interval fashion of the workout.
· 5. Make sure you are properly hydrated
o Just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean you will not become dehydrated
o Your core temperature is probably a lot higher than you think it is!
· 6. Avoid working out if the weather is below freezing and the wind chill is low
o Frostbite can occur
o Hypothermia can occur
o Increased risk of heart attack
· 7. Avoid working out if it is snowing and or raining
o Moisture can penetrate through your clothing and lower your core temperature
· 8. Special populations be careful: PLEASE SEEK DOCTORS APPROVAL BEFORE EXERCISING IN THE COLD!
o Heart disease and other heart conditions
o Asthma, COPD, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions
o Raynaud’s disease
· 9. Tell a friend or family member you are going to workout in the cold just in case anything happens
o Be safe, not sorry!
I hope these tips have helped and motivated you to start your outdoor exercise routine!