Staying fit and active is especially important during the winter when the weather is chilly, and you’re constantly tempted by holiday cookies and treats. While some people choose to visit a gym, run on a treadmill or participate in other indoor forms of exercise, you may still prefer to jog, bike or walk outside despite the low temperatures. Exercising outside in the cold can be uncomfortable and even dangerous if you’re unprepared or uninformed. In this post, we’ll be sharing five tips to help you stay safe while staying active this winter season.
1. Dress to stay dry
Your common sense has probably told you to dress warmly when exercising during the winter. However, it is equally important that you keep yourself dry. According to Olympic runner Jeff Galloway, being wet causes you to feel cold because the water conducts body heat away from your core and into the chilly air. Feeling damp can tempt you to cut your activity short and raise your risk of health concerns like hypothermia. To stay dry while running or biking, wear synthetic fibers like polyester or nylon which hold less water than absorbent materials like cotton.
2. Wear bright colors
During the winter months, the sun rises later and sets earlier. As a result, you may find yourself jogging or biking in the dark. In addition, snow, sleet and rain may also interfere with visibility and make it hard for you to be seen by drivers and other pedestrians. To stay safe, you should wear brightly colored clothing to help you stand out from your surroundings. Reflectors and headlamps can also aid in making you visible despite the weather.
3. Check your shoes
In many areas, the cold season brings snow, ice and sleet. These slippery substances often coat sidewalks and streets, which presents a hazard for runners or joggers. Before going out in the cold, make sure your athletic shoes have enough traction to keep you from slipping. You can find snow spikes and other tools to improve traction at your local athletic equipment store or online.
4. Stay hydrated
Since you may not sweat as much when exercising in the cold, you may not feel as thirsty as you do in the summer. However, it’s just as important to stay hydrated in December as it is in July. Jeff Galloway suggests sipping water steadily during your shorter workouts and drinking sports drinks with electrolytes during longer sessions. Replacing the fluids your body loses through sweating is an essential part of exercising well.
5. Ditch wet clothes quickly
Lastly, it’s a good idea to shed your wet, cold clothes after finishing your outdoor activity. As you near the end of your workout, slow up and allow your body to gently cool down before you head inside. Once your breathing has slowed and your heart rate is back to normal, change into warm clothing to help you recover from the winter chill.