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What you need to take very seriously when exercising outdoors in winter?
There are some potential dangers, freezing temperatures means higher risk of hypothermia and frost bites. Once the temperature is below 20 degrees, you need to protect your skin, such a temperature can cause serious damage to your skin. The most vulnerable parts of your body are your cheeks, nose and ears, but hands and feet are easily affected as well.
How can you recognize the early signs of frostbite?
Loss of feeling, numbness and stinging sensation are the early signs. If you happen to start experiencing these sensations, you need to get out of the cold immediately.
Remember: you should not rub the affected area, rubbing can cause skin damage. It is somewhat unusual to develop frost bite while working out, because frostbites are common when people are not able to move and the temperature is very low, with hard wind, for a longer period of time. However, you need to be cautious.
Another potential danger is hypothermia. When your core body temperature slips below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, you will be in danger. Due to the loss of heat (through your skin and your head), your body is compensating with shivering because the increased muscle activity generates body heat.
As the core temperature drops, the electrical activity in the most cold-sensitive organs, such as heart, brain and lungs, slows. As the temperature drops, the organs will stop “working”. If you suspect hypothermia, you need to call for an emergency help. Symptoms of hypothermia are intense shivering, loss of coordination, fatigue and slurred speech.
Finally, you can slip and fall on the ice patch. Thus, appropriate shoes are necessary.
Who should avoid outdoor winter exercising?
Exercising in cold weather can be dangerous to people who have asthma, heart problems or exercise-induced bronchitis. Cold air and weather can cause chest pain that indicates poor blood flow, and it can trigger asthma attacks.
Care to know more tips on how to exercise in winter?
Plan your routine, think about your running, avoid open roads and paths near water and always stay hydrated.
“When the snow falls or when it gets icy out, the natural thing for a runner to do is to increase their stride width — so they run with their feet a little further apart — and they decrease their stride length. They take more steps per kilometer, they take shorter, choppier steps”, said Reed Ferber, director of the Running Injury Clinic.
Warm up wisely!
“Stretching is also important because when you decrease your stride length, you’re taking shorter, choppier steps, you’re going to be using your hip flexors — the muscles in the front of your hip — and you’re going to be using your hamstrings and your glutes — the muscles in the back of your hip and your leg — a lot more.”
Exercise smart, do not do four miles, like in summer, start with two miles.
“If your goal was to run 5Ks, for example, but your body is telling you that either it’s too cold out or you’re starting to get injured, there’s no reason why you can’t shorten that to a 2K or 3K run. We want runners to listen to their bodies and they can make good decisions based on that.”
If you are not a running type, you can go skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating, or just walking. Whatever you do, winter exercising is very beneficial for your body and health.
Dugard, M. (2011). To Be A Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking on a 5K Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place). Rodale Books.
Nimmo, M. Exercise in the cold. Journal of Sport Science, 2004.
Image credits: 123RF Stock Photo