8 Cold Weather Safety Tips
For outdoor lovers, the end of summer doesn’t need to mean the end of outdoor fitness! Snow shoeing, skiing, snowboarding and sledding are just a few of the winter activities that you can enjoy outdoors. As much as we love being outside in the winter, be aware that health risks increase when the combined temperature and wind chill falls below 32°F. Just like in hot weather, exercising in cold weather has a unique set of health concerns that should be carefully monitored.
Whether you’re planning a skiing trip in the future, sledding with the kids on a snow day, or just committed to your outdoor fitness routine, follow these 8 tips for a happy and healthy winter!
- Layer, layer, layer. The ideal combination of layering for winter activity is as follows:
Layer 1 Synthetic material (like performance-wear) to wick moisture and keep you dry. Avoid heavy cotton, as these absorb sweat, trapping moisture close to your body and increasing your risk of hypothermia Layer 2 Wool or fleece for insulating warmth Layer 3 Lightweight layer of a material that is water and wind resistant.
- Always wear a hat. Did you know you lose about 50% of your body heat from your uncovered head? Hats made of fleece and wool provide the most warmth.
- Buy sturdy footwear with good traction to prevent slips and falls on snow or ice.
- Know the signs of something serious.
Signs of Frostbite: A “pins and needles” feeling in the extremities, pain or burning sensations, blue or pale coloration, blistering, and muscle or joint stiffness Signs of Hypothermia: Shivering, clumsiness or lack of coordination, slurred speech, drowsiness or confusion / memory loss Be extra careful if: You have been diagnosed with asthma, exercise-induced bronchitis, heart or circulatory conditions or an existing illness. Talk to your doctor before performing strenuous activity.
- Wear light and/or reflective clothing, as it gets darker sooner during the winter months. You want to make sure drivers can see you.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can forego sun protection. Ice and snow reflect UV rays, increasing your chance of sunburn. Just like for a day at the beach, cover all exposed areas with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Staying properly hydrated is just as important during cold weather as during hot weather. Drink before, during and after your workout, even if you don’t feel very thirsty, as dehydration may be more difficult to notice during cold weather exertion
- Tell someone what route you’re taking, and when to expect your return, just in case something goes wrong. If you slip and fall in the winter, hypothermia can get the better of you if no one knows to go looking for you.
Looking for indoor fitness for the winter or a compliment to your outdoor routine? Visit our clubs here: