Winter can be the most challenging time of year to exercise, not just because of the cold weather, but also family commitments and holidays.
The following tips and tricks can help you beat the winter weather and continue your exercise. It’s all about knowing how to deal with winter conditions, knowing how to dress for extremely cold weather, and being aware of the dangers of winter weather.
Dressing properly and warming up before exercising in cold winter weather is just the first step. There are still winter dangers that you should be aware of.
Hypothermia – This occurs when a person is not adequately dressed for the cold weather, or exposed to extreme temperatures for a sustained amount of time. Hypothermia may be accelerated during heavy rains or snow storms that leach heat from the body. Symptoms include shivering, numbness, and disorientation.
Frostbite – Usually occurs on windy and wet days combined with freezing temperatures. If the temperature falls below -18 degrees Fahrenheit, you can get frostbite on exposed skin within 30 minutes.
Stumbles and Falls – In winter twilight and darkness, it’s harder to see obstacles, or even uneven pavement; if you do take a stumble you might be more likely to go down. Fallen sticks and branches are another hazard. Leaves are too: they can obscure curbs or potholes, and when they layer up, they can get slippery. Choose your steps carefully, and be patient. It’s better to walk safely through a potential danger spot than to limp home with skinned knees, scraped palms and bruised pride.
Traffic – It seems much easier to run afoul of cars in autumn and winter than in the summer. The slanting rays of a winter sunset seem to aim directly for the eyes of motorists. Be sure you are seen, and be ready to step away from the road and out of danger from approaching vehicles. Once it’s dark, you’re better off wearing reflective gear – hats, vests, shoes, running tights and jackets with safety reflective spots and stripes are all available at sporting goods stores and web sites. A flashlight or head lamp will help you be seen, and see the road better too.