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Tips for Exercising Safely in Winter

Written by Courteney

Posted on January 9, 2017 at 12:50 am

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Winter can be a beautiful and refreshing season to pursue outdoors exercise and activity, but can also be the most treacherous time to do so if you don’t take the proper precautions. Let’s take a look at some essential safety tips for winter fitness:

  • Listen to your body – if you are feeling uncomfortable or out of the ordinary in any way while exercising outdoors, stop and head back inside to see what may be going on. You could be dehydrated, sick or even on your way to frostbite or hypothermia. You know your body best, so listen to its signals.
  • Avoid extreme cold – it is better not to exercise in extreme temperatures as the body has a difficult time adapting to the conditions and can more easily overheat, under-heat or overexert which can result in health problems such as fainting or even heart or respiratory issues, so avoid outdoor activity in extreme cold.
  • Try to avoid getting stuck in the dark – It starts getting dark much earlier during the winter months, so be sure to time your exercise so you catch the daylight. The last thing you want is to be stuck on some backwoods road on snowshoes surrounded by darkness (and who knows what else).
  • Practice extra caution if you have a heart or lung condition – The cold air can constrict the airways which is bad news for those with asthma or COPD, plus exertion can also bring on an asthma attack, so that could be a double whammy. Similarly, those with heart conditions should beware that the cold puts even more strain on your system than just regular exercise and tends to increase blood pressure.
  • Always take your phone or a buddy – In case you slip on the ice while walking, get lost or need assistance for any other reason, it is a good idea to take your phone with you whenever you exercise outdoors so you can call for help if needed. Exercising with a buddy is also a good plan in case of trouble.
  • Don’t venture away from the path – It is smart to map out your exercise route beforehand and to try not to veer off your predetermined course. More can go wrong in cold winter conditions, so don’t take any chances just for adventure’s sake.
  • Warm up and cool down properly – When exercising in cold or hot climates it is more important than ever to properly warm up and cool down to give your body time to acclimatize in the extreme conditions.
  • Invest in ice-gripping shoe tracks ­– A bad fall could cause heavy bruising, broken bones or a coma or death if you hit your head. Who wants to take that chance? Luckily, you can invest in ice-gripping tracks to go on your winter footwear to help prevent falls.
  • Wear layers – it is important to dress appropriately for the cold. Not only should you layer up (so you can take a layer off if you work up a sweat), but you should also make sure you wear mittens or gloves as well as warm socks and a hat if required. The CDC suggests an inner layer of wool or polypropylene to help draw sweat away from your body.
  • Check the forecast – Always check the weather before heading out to exercise in winter. If the wind chill is not ideal, temperatures are too cold, or there is bad weather on the way it is best not to tempt fate. Know when to opt for an indoors workout instead.

So, there you have our winter exercise safety tips! We hope they help you stay healthy and safe this winter. Thanks for visiting DocChat!

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