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There is no off-season for exercise. Getting in your workouts should be, and can be, possible despite the added challenges that come with the cold-weather months. Your fitness goals don’t have to change, but your running routine may have to in order to stay safe during the winter months if you choose to exercise outdoors.
Layers on Layers
Wearing multiple layers is standard for anyone braving the cold, but it serves an especially important purpose for those choosing to run in it. Wear a series of thin layers that keep you warm without hindering your mobility.
Your base shirt should be a thin layer of synthetic material. Cotton will soak up your sweat and keep it close to your skin, which can make you chilly. For insulation, add a fleece or wool layer and then a breathable waterproof layer for rain or snow protection. Choose bright colors when you’re running during dark winter evenings.
Learn the Signs
Frostbite and hypothermia are real threats to anyone exercising in the cold or rainy weather. Frostbite is an injury that is caused when parts of your skin and underlying tissues freeze. It’s common on your fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin, so finish off the above outfit with a good pair of gloves, socks and a beanie to protect yourself. Early warning signs of frostbite include cold skin that feels prickly and numb.
Hypothermia is the other condition cold-weather runners should be educated about. It’s caused when your body loses heat faster than it can produce. Your heart, nervous system and other organs have trouble working correctly when your body temperature drops. Symptoms include shivering, slurred speech or mumbling, confusion and shallow breathing.
If you’re experiencing early symptoms of frostbite, don’t continue your workout. Go inside, get warm and remove any wet clothing. Get emergency help if you suspect hypothermia.
Before you layer up, take a look at what conditions you’ll be dealing with. If extreme wind chills are in the forecast, take your workout inside and don’t risk it. Wind can penetrate even the most well-layered runner and can make your skin extra vulnerable to frostbite. The same advice should be followed for rainy conditions. Moisture makes you more vulnerable to the cold and can make it difficult to keep your body temperature high enough.
Working out in the cold winter months can be tough but you have plenty of options to choose from. Consider signing up for a gym or personal training classes to help you get motivated. Inspira Fitness Connection also offers a variety of group classes to get you moving.