The 2014 Winter Olympics are in full swing and perhaps motivating you to get moving – even in these frigid temps! If you’re planning to get your exercise outdoors as the Olympians are, here are seven tips to stay injury- and frostbite-free in the winter weather.
1. Wear layers: This allows you to adjust your attire easily as your body heats up. Avoid wearing cotton directly against your skin as it tends to stay wet with perspiration that can chill you after your workout.
2. Cover your hands, face and ears: These areas are most susceptible to frostbite as your body heat and blood pump toward your core in cold weather.
3. Use common sense: If the temperature and/or wind chill are below zero, keep your exercise indoors.
4. Stay dry: Damp clothing from precipitation or sweat will increase heat loss. If it’s cold and raining or snowing, the dampness will make it even harder for your body’s furnace to keep up.
5. Stay hydrated: Dehydration makes it more difficult for your body to regulate its temperature. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking water before, during and after your workout, regardless of whether you feel thirsty.
6. Warm-up and stretch: A nice, easy warm-up (light jog, jumping jacks, etc.) will help your body adjust to the upcoming routine. Stretching is best done after the warm-up when your muscles are not cold and stiff. Making a habit of including these steps will help prevent injury.
7. Consult your doctor prior to starting: Do this before beginning any exercise regime, especially if you have certain conditions that may be more affected by the cold such as asthma, Raynaud’s disease or heart conditions.