Winter in the Ann Arbor region means adhering to some special rules-of-the road when it comes to outdoor exercise and activity during colder temperatures.
These simple rules can be adapted for children as well who want to go out and enjoy the snow. They can also be used for those who simply like to get together with a few friends or family and go on a healthy, social walk.
Keep in mind that cold weather means heavier breathing because extreme temperatures cause the heart to work harder in order to receive a proper balance of oxygen throughout the body.
- Check with your medical care team before you start any new exercise program
- Review and practice a healthy nutrition and hydration lifestyle; http://www.choosemyplate.gov/
- Wear a hat to prevent up to 50% heat loss from your head
- Wear a scarf (you can cover your mouth and nose intermittently)
- Mittens keep your fingers warmer than gloves
- Layer clothing and remove layers as needed because sweating can actually increase heat loss
- Wear shoes with good traction to prevent slipping and remember that you lose body heat from your toes as well as your head
- Avoid exercising outside when temperatures are below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (include wind chill)
- Travel with the wind at your back especially for the last half of your workout
- Drink water to maintain blood flow to your body including your skin and to prevent dehydration
- Take energy bars or trail mix for a long workout
- Take a cell phone in case of an emergency
- Wear reflective clothing even during the day as many days are over-cast in the fall and winter months
- Consider activity with others instead of alone, when possible, for safety and the benefit of fun and encouragement from others
If you think it's too cold, it probably is. Have an indoor, back-up plan for exercise on those bitterly cold days.
Life Coaching and free resources: http://www.tinardlifecoach.com