It is important to stay active and healthy, even during the coldest months of the year. To make sure you stay safe in the cold weather, be sure to keep a few tips in mind:
Pile on the clothing
Be sure to dress in layers so as to keep your body heat close to you to prevent hypothermia. Your first layer should be rather thin and made of a material that wicks moisture away from your skin; avoid cotton because it traps moisture. The next layer should be an insulating material such as fleece. The final layer should be your “shell,” which will use your own body heat to keep you warm; the material should be something that is waterproof. Adjust these layers as necessary and remove them one at a time if you begin to overheat.
Cover those extremities
Don’t forget to wear a hat (or two), gloves, and earmuffs. Heat escapes rapidly through your head, so wear a hat to ensure you keep as much of your body heat close to you. Your hands and ears are often overlooked when exercising outdoors in the cold. Be sure to wear a pair or two of gloves and keep your ears covered well. Think about your feet – do yours sweat a lot? If so, wear a thin pair of socks made of non-cotton material plus a second, cotton pair. If yours don’t sweat easily, go ahead and load on the socks.
Even though it is winter and you may not feel like you’re sweating as much, you still need to be sure to stay fully hydrated. Drink plenty of water (or a sports drink) before, during, and after exercising – even if you’re not thirsty.
Keep yourself educated regarding the risks (and rewards) of continuing to exercise outside during the winter months. As always, and especially if you have any medical conditions, consult your physician before putting a winter exercise regimen into action.