5 tips for safe winter exercise
Winter is upon us. But, that's no reason to throw out your
exercise routine and go into hibernation.
Despite cold temperatures, outdoor activities offer an enjoyable
way to stay fit and boost your health. Whether you're running or
walking, shoveling snow or building a snowman, these activities
burn calories and improve body condition. Just keep in mind a few
safety precautions. Here are five tips for keeping your heart rate
up when the temperature drops:
- New to working out or exercising outdoors? Consult a physician
before starting, especially if you suffer from cardiovascular or
respiratory conditions. Cold air can trigger lung problems like
asthma, while increased heart rate and body temperature can be
dangerous for people with cardiac issues.
- Staying warm without drowning in sweat once your body heats up
can be a challenge. Wear three removable layers -- an item made of
moisture-wicking material to draw sweat away from skin; an
insulation layer such as lightweight fleece; and a waterproof,
wind-resistant layer to stave off the elements.
- Protect hands, feet and ears; things exposed to the wind.
They're the furthest away from our core, so they tend to get cold
quickly. If they're not protected from wind chill, we're at risk
for frost bite. The head is especially important to cover since
that's where we lose most of our body heat.
- Winter's shorter days mean that outdoor exercisers often find
themselves in the dark. It's important to wear light, reflective
colors and a reflective safety vest or tape, available at sporting
- Ice and snow can be hazardous if your shoes aren't up to the
challenge. Be sure to wear shoes with plenty of tread.
Winter specifics aside, take the normal precautions you would
during other times of the year, like staying hydrated and wearing
sunscreen. And, if the temperature is unbearably cold, limit your
By: Denise Augsburger, an exercise physiologist with