Winter can be the most challenging time of year to exercise, not just because of the cold weather, but also family commitments and holidays.
The following tips and tricks can help you beat the winter weather and continue your exercise. It’s all about knowing how to deal with winter conditions, knowing how to dress for extremely cold weather, and being aware of the dangers of winter weather.
- Exercising In Winter Conditions
- Be more flexible when and where you exercise. Weather conditions may not cooperate with a fixed schedule or location. Plan alternative locations and times.
- Be prepared to face earlier nights by carrying the right equipment, such as a flashlight or lighted headband.
- Warm up! Get your blood flowing with simple calisthenics and range-of-motion exercises first before heading outside.
- When running on snow or ice, don’t worry about speed or going too slow. Getting in a comfortable rhythm is good enough for moderate exercise and safe, secure footing.
- Avoid running in areas that may have black ice or hazards you may not see. Run on packed snow for better traction, and consider purchasing trail running shoes instead of your regular shoes. Better yet, consider using a treadmill when conditions are hazardous and icy.
- Exercise with a partner to help you stay focused on maintaining your fitness plan during the tough winter season.
- Wear wool clothing to retain more heat. If your exercise is vigorous, look at multiple layers of performance wear with wicking fabric to help move sweat away from your body and stay warm and relatively dry.
- Wear a pair of mittens with a nylon shell or glove liners.
- Balaclavas are knit masks that cover your nose and ears and they are perfect for exercising in winter weather.
Dressing properly and warming up before exercising in cold winter weather is just the first step. There are still winter dangers that you should be aware of.
Hypothermia – This occurs when a person is not adequately dressed for the cold weather, or exposed to extreme temperatures for a sustained amount of time. Hypothermia may be accelerated during heavy rains or snow storms that leach heat from the body. Symptoms include shivering, numbness, and disorientation.
Frostbite – Usually occurs on windy and wet days combined with freezing temperatures. If the temperature falls below -18 degrees Fahrenheit, you can get frostbite on exposed skin within 30 minutes.