Winter Workouts

Tips for tackling outdoor exercise

Winter days often bring along foul weather that makes even the most dedicated exercisers cringe. But don’t let cold, dreary days confine you to a “dreadmill” or other boring, indoor exercise equipment. Let the cool air invigorate and motivate you. As the chill settles in this winter, tackle your outside workout by following these tips:

1. Dress in layers : Although your outfit will change depending on your activity and personal preference, wearing three basic layers should keep you comfortable outside. The base layer works to wick away moisture from your skin, the middle layer provides insulation, and the outer layer helps block wind.

2. Wear sunscreen: You don’t have to be on a beach to get sun damage—snow can reflect and intensify harmful UV rays that damage skin. Always wear a good SPF when heading outdoors.

3. Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia : Knowledge is power—especially when it comes to the warning signs for these dangerous cold-weather threats. You may be at risk for hypothermia if you have uncontrollable shivering, slurred speech, or drowsiness. The signs of frostbite are unusually firm or waxy skin, yellow-gray coloring of the skin, or numbness.

4. Wear the right shoes: If you go for a jog outside, make sure to watch out for ice or other slick spots. Wearing shoes with proper tread, as well as warm socks (wool retains heat best), helps keep feet safe and cozy.

5. Protect your extremities: Your head, ears, and hands should always be covered. These areas are extremely vulnerable to frostbite. If you get too hot, it’s easy to cool off by removing one of these items.

6. Plan ahead: Knowing weather conditions goes a long way in having a successful outdoor workout. An extreme wind chill can penetrate even the warmest clothing and put you in harm’s way. The Mayo Clinic suggests staying indoors if temps are below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

7. Hydrate : You may not notice you are sweating or breathing heavily when exercising in colder air. But, in fact, your body reacts the same way as working out in a warm environment. That means you should still hydrate as you would in a moderate environment. Drink plenty of fluids throughout your outing to prevent dehydration.