Safety Tips for Outdoor Fitness during the Winter

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As soon as daylight savings time goes into effect, it becomes harder to maintain an outdoor workout plan. Winter’s earlier sunsets, inclement weather, and freezing temperatures can be a dangerous combination for those who exercise outside. Handle winter workouts in stride by preparing for the worst with the tips below.

Follow Weather Conditions

Be sure to check the weather forecast before you head outside for a workout. If you have not already, it helps to download a smartphone app with real-time weather updates. That way, you’ll receive warnings when a surprise storm is on the way, which can be helpful while you’re on a run or bicycling outside.

Wear Reflective Clothing

With daylight savings now in effect, the sun sets earlier everyday. If your schedule can only accommodate evening workouts, it is important to stay safe with reflective clothing and accessories. For most workouts, a glowing running jacket or vest with reflective tape should be plenty. Other types of outdoor exercise, such as bicycling or skiing, may need additional gear.

Don’t Forget Sunscreen

It is important to protect your skin from the sun, even when temperatures are low. During outdoor workouts, always wear sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB rays, plus protective lip balm. If there is snow on the ground, you can shield your eyes from glare using dark glasses or goggles.

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Dress Appropriately

In cold weather, your body works to stay warm by concentrating blood flow toward the torso, leaving your hands, head, and feet vulnerable. To prevent frostbite, make sure you wear protective gear on all exposed areas of the body:

  • Hands: Double-up for best results. Layer fleece or wool gloves on top of a pair of thin glove liners made from wicking material like polypropylene. This helps keep heat trapped inside both layers for protection. Plus, if your hands start to sweat, simply remove the outer layer.
  • Head: Wear a hat or headband to shield your ears from low temperatures and windburn. If the weather is extremely frigid, you may even want to cover your face with a scarf or ski mask.
  • Feet: Consider a pair of winter-only workout shoes in one half-size larger than you normally wear, to allow room for thick thermal socks. You can also fit foot-warming insoles inside your shoe for added coziness, which is especially helpful for skiers and other winter sport enthusiasts.

Know the Symptoms of Hypothermia

When planning to spend an extended period of time outdoors, make sure you’re aware of the warning signs of hypothermia:

  • Pale, cold skin
  • Sluggishness
  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Mental confusion or mumbling
  • Slowed breathing and heart rate

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