Exercising Safely in Cold Weather
Did you indulge a little too much over the Thanksgiving holiday? Are you worried about gaining a few extra pounds this holiday season?
Starting or maintaining an exercise regimen outside during the fall and winter seasons can be difficult because of the chilly or downright cold weather. However, exercising outdoors in cold weather can be safe and fun if the proper precautions are taken.
- Dress in layers. This will make it easier to regulate your body temperature as you warm up. The layers closest to your skin should wick moisture away from your body. This includes socks that may get sweaty or wet from snow and slush.
- Protect your extremities, especially your head. Approximately 40 percent of body heat is lost through the head, so hats are essential.
- Cover ears, fingers and other body parts.
- Pay particular attention to warm ups and stretches. The body tightens up more in cold weather, so a good stretching program is essential before and after exercising. Warming up indoors before venturing outside also is a good idea.
- Be aware of frostbite and hypothermia. Symptoms of frostbite include extremities that appear yellowish, burn or feel numb. If you experience any of these, go inside and immerse them in warm, not hot, water. Symptoms of hypothermia include slurred speech, loss of coordination and intense shivering. If these occur, get inside, remove all wet clothing, and gradually warm the body with blankets and warm, not hot, food and drink.
- Avoid icy or wet surfaces. To help prevent falls, avoid icy or wet surfaces.
Breathing cold air can trigger asthma or asthmatic symptoms in some people. It can also cause problems for people with heart disease or other heart problems. Consult your doctor if you have any of these conditions.
Always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program or if you experience serious symptoms during exercise.