Winter Fitness

Outdoor Safety Tips

Don’t let the cold stop you from reaching your New Year’s Goals that include outdoor exercise.  It can be healthy to exercise in the cold, however there are certain points of consideration to make sure you are safe. According to staff at the Mayo Clinic, the following safety tips will help you keep moving even when cold.

1.       Check more than just the temperature.  Temperature, wind, and moisture should all be evaluated when planning for outdoor activity. Pay particular attention to wind chill when making clothing decisions.

2.       Be aware of the most common cold weather health issues, which are frostbite and hypothermia.  Signs of frostbite include numbness, loss of feeling and/or a stinging sensation.  Exposed skin is most susceptible, but it can happen on hands and feet as well. Hypothermia signs and symptoms include shivering, slurred speech, loss of coordination and fatigue. If symptoms of frostbite persist, or hypothermia occur, seek medical care.

3.       Dress in layers.  Dressing in layers allows you the opportunity to remove clothing as you begin to sweat.  The first layer should be made of a material that draws moisture away from the body.  It is best to avoid cotton.  Then add a warm layer of fleece or wool, and you may want to add a one more breathable outer layer. 

4.       Protect your head, hands, feet and ears.  When it is cold, heat is directed during your core during exercise, so make sure to cover these body parts.  You may want to try extra layers on these area as well. 

5.       Don’t forget the sunscreen.  Even though it’s cold out you can get sunburned just as easily as during the hot summer months. 

6.       Drink plenty of fluids.  You may not feel as thirsty when exercising during the winter months when temperatures are cold.  However, it is just as important to stay as well hydrated as you would during the hot summer.