Safety Tips When Exercising In Winter
Being physically active is safe for most, even when it is cold out. Those with certain conditions, like asthma or heart problems should first check in with their doctor to make sure they are aware of any necessary precautions.
The following tips can keep you safe and active all winter long!
- Check the weather forecast for temperature and wind conditions. Be aware of wind chill as extremes can make exercising outdoors unsafe.
- Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is most common on exposed skin, like cheeks, nose and ears. Early signs include numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation. Get out of the cold immediately if you suspect frostbite, slowly warm the affected area without rubbing it, and seek emergency care if the numbness doesn't go away. Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature - exercising in cold, rainy weather increases the risk of hypothermia. Signs and symptoms include intense shivering, slurred speech, loss of coordination and fatigue. Seek emergency care immediately if you suspect hypothermia.
- Dress appropriately. Dress in layers rather than dressing too warmly. When exercising you generate a lot of heat, making you feel like it is much warmer than it really is. As sweat evaporates it pulls heat from the body and you feel cold. Dressing in layers allows you to remove clothes when you start sweating and then put back on as needed. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to the skin.
- Wear gloves, ear protectors and proper shoes that allow you to wear thicker than usual socks.
- Don't forget to wear sunscreen and other protective gear! Helmets, reflective clothing, bike headlights and taillights are a must for your safety. Sunglasses or goggles are also necessary to protect your eyes from snow and ice glare.
- Stay hydrated. Drink fluids or sports drinks (if needed) before, during and after exercise.