Winter weather does not have to signal the end of your outdoor exercise. You can continue to exercise outdoors, run through your favorite park and enjoy the fresh air if you take a few precautions to stay safe in cold weather. Get a checkup at your doctor’s office and then get out in the crisp cold air for a great workout!

Don’t dress too warmly for outdoor exercise in the winter. Exercise will stimulate your metabolism which results in heat production. The best practice is to dress in layers. As your body heats up during exercise, you can remove layers of clothing. Replace clothing as you start to feel chilled. Use thin layers of clothing that have good heat retaining properties. Thick clothing like sweaters and bulky thermal shirts can interfere with your workout by restricting your movements. Synthetic garments absorb sweat and trap some heat between the garment and your body. Avoid cotton because it will stick to your skin when you start to sweat. Fleece and wool are great for holding in heat and insulating your core against the cold. Wrap a fleece scarf around your face or wear a ski mask that covers your mouth and nose to help warm the air you breathe in and protect delicate lip skin from chapping. Wool socks and gloves will protect your hands and feet against the cold. You will lose most of your body heat through your head so be sure to wear a hat or cap.

Wear sunscreen to protect your exposed skin from sunburn. People often forget that they can get sunburn in the winter. Wear sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes from the cold and to prevent snow blindness. Bright sunshine reflected off white snow can burn the tissues of your eyes and possibly harm your vision. Severe cases of snow blindness may result in temporary or permanent loss of vision. 

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Use reflective clothing. Let’s face it: there aren’t a lot of daylight hours in winter and odds are that at least sometimes, you’ll have to be outside when it’s dark. That’s why it’s important to have reflective gear on your outer layers to ensure you’re easy to see. You may also want to buy a bike light or a flashing light to help light your own way and make you more visible to motorists.

Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise to avoid dehydration. Breathing and sweating causes your body to lose water. You may not feel as thirsty in the winter as you do in the summer, but you still need just as much water. Take a water bottle with you when you exercise outside in the winter. Be aware of ice on sidewalks and running paths if you are jogging or running outside. It isn’t always easy to see ice on the ground ahead of you. Be extra careful to avoid a fall.

Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and freelance writer. She has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College. Robin’s goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for her clients. Her services include both in-person and online personal training at Lose up to 10 lbs with a 24-DAY WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE! Visit my website to get started today!

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