How to Enjoy a Good and Safe Winter Workout

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winter Runners

 

 

It isimportant to remain physically active throughout the year. You cannot spend winters in bed and resume your exercise program only when summer arrives. Here are some tips to exercise safely during the cold months:

 

 

 

  • Do not do outdoor exercise in temperatures below -5°C, and cut your run short if the temperature drops below 0. You may feel warm while you are running, but frostbite on your extremities will occur anyway.
  • During the snowy months, do your running only on well-maintained paths. Potholes hidden by snow can leave you with a broken ankle and you cannot run fast in deep snow. Look out with snow piles.
  • Stretch all your muscles a few times before you start. They are stiffer in cold weather and you risk muscle straining or tearing if you force them straight into heavy exercise.
  • If you are not accustomed to winter exercise, start slowly. For the first week, run only half of your usual distance. Then increase it to two thirds for the second week. 
  • Wear layers of clothing so you can shed some when you become too warm and start perspiring. Wear boots or shoes with rubber soles to run outside.
  • You may not feel like drinking cold water during winter, but drink a glass before you start and take your filled water bottle as you usually do. Dehydration reduces your body's ability to regulate its temperature, so you risk hypothermia if you do not drink enough.
  • Your body works hard during winter workouts, because it has to be both active and warm itself. During long workouts, have an energy bar handy. 
  • If you are prone to chest pain or upper respiratory problems, either exercise indoors or warm the air through a scarf or mask before you breathe it.
  • The best indication of frostbite is when your skin turns a grey-ish yellow and feels numb or tingly. Uncontrollable shivering and exhaustion indicate hypothermia. Do not try to make it back home when this happens. Find the nearest warm space to warm you and have a hot drink.
  • Cool off gradually after your exercise session by peeling off one layer at a time. Do not take a cold shower. Wait until your body is back to approximately its normal temperature before you shower. Preventing extreme changes in body temperature will help you avoid a cold.

It is terribly unhealthy to cut your exercise routine just because it is cold. Follow these tips and continue to exercise safely during winter.