Should you get moving when the weather outside is c-c-cold?

When the weather outside starts to get cold and foreboding, you may be tempted to stay inside by the fire with a warm cup of tea, snuggle with your fiance, and put some comfort food in your lap. However, you should know that heading out the door for some cold-weather workouts will reap great rewards if you take care to stay warm and safe.

Read on to learn how to pump up when the wind is biting and your nose is bright red.

Dress Right.

Running and playing in the cold requires you to be very thoughtful about your wardrobe. Obviously, you can’t take off in a t-shirt and shorts. Instead, you’ll want to wear layers of clothing. As you begin to sweat, remove a layer to keep your sweat from causing you to get cold later. Then put your outermost layers back on when you begin to grow cold. For best warmth, the layer against your body should be polypropylene or another synthetic material, followed by fleece and then something waterproof and breathable on top.

In addition to staying warm, you should remember to stay safe. As it is often darker during the cold months, take precaution to remain visible to oncoming traffic. Wearing clothing with reflective surfaces will help others see you, even from a distance. You should also make sure your shoes have good enough traction to keep you on your feet as you run across various surfaces. And if you’re participating in skiing, snowboarding, or other winter sports, wear appropriate safety gear to avoid hurting your head, knees, and other body parts.

Work the Wind.

Blowing, freezing wind is one of the hardest parts to overcome if you’re trying to force yourself to work out in the cold. Keep the wind beneath your wings by facing the blowing breeze during the beginning of your run or bicycle ride. This way, you’ll be running with the wind on your way back home, making the return trip much more pleasant and making you more likely to want to do it again the next day.

Think Hot.

While you’ll need to plan your wardrobe and your wind sprints with the weather in mind, you’ll need to change your mindset to a warmer climate to ensure your overall good health during a winter workout. Wearing sunscreen in the cold may seem senseless, but the sun still has the power to burn your exposed skin during the winter. Actually, you may be at increased risk for sunburn if you’re working out at a high altitude or in an area with a lot of snow. So be sure to lather up before you head out for your cold routine.

You’ll also need to think hot weather with regards to your hydration. Becoming dehydrated may seem to be a concern only valid during the hot summer months, but you need plenty of liquids in your system year round to keep your system well watered. To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout – even if you don’t feel thirsty yet. Because once you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.

Get Back In

For the most part, you can exercise in the cold and reap only benefits from your routine. Sometimes, however, exercising in the cold isn’t a good idea. If you exercise outside when you shouldn’t, the results can be bone-chillingly bad. When should you get back inside? The following are signs that you need to get inside and stay there:

  • The temperature is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (or –17.8 degrees Celsius). At these temperatures, you’re at risk for lowering your body temperature, which can have horrid results.
  • You experience frostbite or hypothermia. The initial signs of frostbite include numbness, loss of feeling, paleness, or stinging in the fingers, face, and toes. Hypothermia is recognized by unstoppable shivering, fatigue, loss of coordination, and slurred speech. If these symptoms are present, seek emergency medical attention immediately.