Since it’s important to keep an active lifestyle no matter the season, several safety tips for winter exercise exist that are easy to remember and simple to follow. From choosing the right clothing to recognizing the signs of cold weather related dangers, such as exposure and hypothermia, keeping safe during winter exercising is the best way to greet the spring with a strong and healthy body.
1. Dress Appropriately
Although sub-zero temperatures are hardly something everyone must deal with during the winter, colder temperatures do require changes in clothing no matter your location. As a resident of southern Alabama or Mississippi might be able to simply make the switch from shorts to leggings to keep warm during the winter, a runner in Minnesota might require much more significant additions to her wardrobe for safe exercise.
The first step in protecting your body from extremely cold weather is protecting your extremities. A variety of specially designed gloves exist for winter exercising and there are head coverings designed with winter exercise in mind (meaning they’re hats made of a material other than cotton).
Secondly, wearing layers during the time spent outside will allow you to keep the proper amount of clothing around just in case the weather gets worse and you need an extra jacket or the sun peeks through the clouds and the temperature warms up. When engaged in heavy exercise, you might feel as though it’s much warmer than it actually is, so having layers available is advisable.
2. Keep Well Hydrated
Just because the heat of the sun isn’t bearing down upon your neck doesn’t mean you should skip that pre-workout glass of water when you go out for a morning jog in freezing weather. Your body functions in the same way whether it’s cold or hot outside, and exertion will make the body sweat no matter the temperature making it necessary to hydrate the body in every type of weather.
3. Know the Signs of Frostbite
In extremely cold weather it is important to know when you might be suffering from frostbite, as this condition has the potential to be followed by hypothermia, which is a severe and dangerous drop in the body’s core temperature. Signs of frostbite include a tingling or numbness in affected areas in addition to feelings of pain or burning on the skin. A precursor to hypothermia and frostbite is often uncontrollable shivering, which can be greatly exacerbated by the exertion of cold weather exercise.
4. Recognize If It’s Just Too Cold
Wind chill and sub-zero temperatures aren’t a complete barrier to wintertime exercise, but it’s important to pay attention to whether conditions are too dangerous for an extensive workout. Taking a look at the extended forecast for your area will tell you whether you can push a long or intense workout off a few days.