With winter’s shorter days and cold, often inclement weather, many of us are forced indoors for our workouts. When possible, I still try to get outside to enjoy a run, snowshoe or a walk in the snow. Most people are able to exercise in cold weather safely though if you have a heart condition, asthma or are older, check with your physician first. Here are some things to think about and plan when contemplating cold weather exercise.
Fun and Safe Workouts for Cold Weather
Check the weather forecast before heading out the door. Living in Colorado we are all aware weather can deteriorate rapidly with little warning. Don’t be caught miles from home or the car with little more than a cotton t-shirt. Temperature, wind and precipitation, along with the length of time that you’ll be outside, are key considerations in planning a safe cold-weather workout. The combination of being damp or wet on a breezy day can lead to hypothermia at air temperatures higher than we would anticipate being a problem.
Dress in layers. You can shed as you warm up or put back on as you cool. Many different types of material can provide insulation but have a wind and water resistant shell on the outside. Avoid cotton next to your skin which holds your sweat and can make you cold.
Wear appropriate footwear. Proper shoes are vital, especially if it is icy out. Consider purchasing cleats for the ice such as Yaktrax that fit over your shoe, to keep from slipping on the ice.
Keep hydrated. Make sure to drink water as you exercise as you would in the summer. Fluid loss through sweating won’t be noticed as much in the cold temperature. Blood will be concentrated in the body’s core causing increased urination as well.
Protect your head, hands, feet and ears. Wear a warm hat, gloves and socks along with sunscreen and lip balm to protect against the sun and wind.
My personal threshold temperature for an outside run in the winter is usually in the mid 20’s (with no wind) but dressed appropriately many safely choose to run as temps drop into the single digits. Colder than that, most would advise moving your routine inside.
Have a safe and fun winter season!
Dr. GreenTags: aerobic, busy mom, colorado, commit to fit, Dr. Green, exercise, exercise benefits, fitness tips, fun and safe workouts for cold weather, health, healthy lifestyle, medical fitness, UCHealth, windsor colorado