7 Tips for Exercising Safely this Winter

Winter workouts can be fun and exhilarating, however, they also can pose a threat your health and safety.  Here are a few tips to exercise safely in the upcoming winter months.

Map Your Route

Stable, safe footing should be your priority when planning a winter route.  Make sure to stake out routes that have been cleared or paved.  Look for a loop in your neighborhood that you can repeat as many times as you want.  If you become tired, slip on ice, or get wet, you will still be close to home and can quickly escape the elements.

Warm Up Wisely

Before any workout, walk around or jog in place indoors for five minutes to 10 minutes.  When you head out, give your body time to adjust to the conditions.

Take Cover

Try to avoid open roads and paths near water.  Tree-lined trails and city blocks with tall buildings can help protect you from biting winds and snow flurries.

Cool—Don't Freeze—Down

To avoid getting too chilled during your cool down, keep it brief  and slow your pace for three to four minutes, then go inside to stretch.

Start Small

If you normally do four miles in the summer, make sure to start with two.  If you have to stop, your body temp will drop rapidly, increasing your risk for hypothermia. Easing into it can also help your airways acclimate. 

Drink Up

In the wintertime, you might not feel as though you are losing sweat.  Staying hydrated is just as important during the cold months as it is during the warmer months.

Be Flexible

You may be an a.m. exerciser, but on extremely cold days, your best (and safest) bet is holding off until midafternoon, if possible, when temps are at their highest and paths are more likely to be plowed. 
Remember, there is such a thing as unsafe weather conditions.  Please use your judgment wisely when considering a winter workout.