What should we pay attention to during winter exercise?
If you consider yourself one of the individuals that enjoy exercising outdoors, irregardless of the weather conditions, it is important to take the time to insure that you are well prepared for the conditions that may exist when performing your exercise routine. Below are 6 tips designed to assist you in ensuring that you exercise safely during the winter months.
1:Wear Multiple Layers of Clothing
Most winter exercisers already understand the importance of dressing in layers, but it is so crucial to the activity that it bears repeating here. When your workout begins, your body will be struggling to stay warm and require several warm layers of clothing. As the workout continues, your cardiovascular activity quickly elevates your body temperature. If you are wearing nothing but a t-shirt and a thick down jacket when this happens, you will have two options: keep the jacket on and overheat, or take it off and freeze.
As such, it is highly advisable to wear several breathable, lightweight, easily-removable layers. Colder temperatures call for more layers than warmer temperatures. Your external layer needs to be water proof to keep you dry in case of snow or rain.
2,Hydrate Like it is Summer
Many winter exercisers assume they will need less water during a workout than they would in hotter temperatures. While this may be true to a point, the Mayo Clinic states that dehydration can easily occur during the winter as well.
Dehydration will occur more rapidly if you do a poor job of managing your layers of clothing. If you fail to take off some of the extra layers when your body starts to warm up, you will start to perspire more heavily and more water will be required to compensate.
Prepare for your workout by drinking a few glasses of water at least an hour before you start to exercise. Bring extra water along in a reusable water bottle for short to moderate sessions. If you’re planning a lengthier exercise session, such as a long snowshoe hike through the woods, consider bringing a high-capacity hydration backpack such as a CamelBak. This will also come in handy for stowing away extra layers of clothing.
3,Cover your Extremities
This tip is rather basic as well, though you may be more likely to don gloves and a hat if you understand the science behind it. When you are exposed to cold temperatures, your body goes into survival mode by concentrating blood flow in the core of your body at the expense of your hands, feet and other extremities.
The National Institutes of Health states that most body heat is lost through the head, meaning you should always wear a hat while exercising outdoors in the winter. In accordance with Tip #1, it may even be wise to bring two hats: a heavier, more insulated hat to start your workout, and a lighter-weight fleece cap for once your body warms up.
Other items to keep with your winter workout gear include face masks, scarves, gloves and earmuffs. These items should easily fit into your jacket pocket if you find yourself getting too warm during the workout.
4,Plan a Route Wisely
During the summer, it can be great fun to explore a nearby forest with a day-long hike, not knowing exactly where you’ll go or when you well return. During the winter, it can be a recipe for disaster.
Unless you possess expert survival skills, it would be unwise to plan a winter exercise route that takes you too far from civilization. In general, you should be able to walk back to a place of shelter in well under an hour from any given point on your route(even if you’re skiing), which will allow you to change your plans quickly if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
For extra safety, you might even consider exercising right in town, especially if you are bringing along younger children. Public parks can be great for jogging, snowshoeing and even skiing, and they are usually situated in close proximity to help if you need it.
5,Know the Weather
In many areas, weather conditions can change several times per day during the winter. Temperatures could be unseasonably warm while you are preparing for your workout, but a blizzard could be raging by the time you actually get outside.Checking the weather forecast the day of your workout is the only way to have even some idea of what to expect while you are exercising.
Keep weather information at your fingertips by bookmarking the Weather Channel in your web browser, and download one of the many available weather apps to your smartphone for when you’re on the go.
Knowing the weather will allow you to plan the length and route of your journey, as well as the types of clothing you should be bringing along.
6,Know the Symptoms of Hypothermia and Frostbite
With careful planning and wise decision-making, you should be able to avoid serious conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia. Unfortunately, however, accidents and misjudgments happen to even the most veteran outdoor exercisers. As such, you should know what frostbite and hypothermia look and feel like when they occur.
Hypothermia is defined as the body reaching a temperature under 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or 35 degrees Celsius. Potential symptoms include:
1.Weak or slow pulse
2.Pain in the hands, feet and other extremities
6.Drowsiness or unconsciousness
9.Labored movement and thinking
Frostbite is defined as freezing of skin tissue, and typically occurs first in extremities such as fingers, toes, ears and the nose. Potential symptoms include:
1.Skin that feels hard, stinging, tingling or aching to the touch
2.Bluish or pale skin tone
3.Loss of sensation
Frostbite is often a precursor to hypothermia. If you suspect that you could be at risk for either condition, stop your exercise session and seek the help of a medical professional immediately.
Exercising Outdoors in Winter:
Exercising outdoors during the winter can be great way to have fun, stay in shape and get some much-needed fresh air. However, you will need to take some precautions if you want to do it safely. Start by dressing in layers and bringing plenty of water.
Check the weather several times before you depart on your journey, and plan your route accordingly. Do your absolute best to keep your extremities dry and warm with gloves, earmuffs and insulated, waterproof shoes or boots, and know the signs of hypothermia and frostbite in case they occur.