Cold Weather Workouts
The pre-Halloween snow storm was an unexpected and not-so-pleasant surprise for most of here in the Northeast. Luckily, I dug out the gloves and ear warmers in time for Old Man Winter’s early visit. Now that these warm, woolly items are sitting in an easy-to-reach spot in my closet, I thought it was the perfect time for some important reminders on how to safely stick with your outdoor exercise routine as we head into a cold finish for 2011:
- Dress In Layers: Start with a thin layer of synthetic material (e.g. Under Armour or Nike DriFIT clothing) closest to the skin. Avoid wearing cotton as it takes longer to dry and the wet feel can give you a chill. Add a layer of fleece or wool and last but not least, finish off your outfit with a waterproof outer-layer.
- Protect Your Hands, Feet & Ears: My hands and feet are cold even on the hottest days of the year, so they’re especially vulnerable to wind chills and icy temperatures. So, in colder weather, I’ll often wear a thin pair of gloves under a pair of heavier ones, or even a pair of mittens. I know some people who have a “winter” pair of running or walking shoes that are up to one size bigger so they can wear thicker thermal socks or two pairs of regular ones. Finally, I’m a big fan of the wrap-around ear warmers or fleece headbands to keep the biting wind from wreaking havoc on my ears.
- Don’t Forget the Sunscreen: If you’ve ever gotten a nasty sunburn from skiing, you know the sun is just as strong in the cold-weather months as it is in the summertime. Remember to put on the SPF 30 before heading outdoors and don’t forget the the SPF-infused lip balm, too.
- Stay Hydrated: We hear lots of warnings about becoming dehydrated in the heat, but you can become dehydrated just as easily in the cold. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workout. (Here’s a refresher on why water is so important.)
- Special Populations: While most people can exercise safely in the cold weather, if you have a heart condition or suffer from asthma, be sure to check with your physician before starting a cold-weather exercise routine.
The good news is you don’t have to pack away your motivation to exercise with the bathing suit and beach towels. Using a little common sense and having the right gear will allow you to continue your love affair with the great outdoors through November and beyond so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!