#TryItTuesday: Hibernating is for Bears
With the low temps and the blowing wind, many of us prefer to hibernate in our homes during the winter. But hibernating is for bears!
Just because it is cold outside doesn’t make for an excuse not to exercise. All it takes is a little planning and knowing a few outdoor safety tips:
Taking it Outside
Check with your health care provider before beginning any exercise program. Warm up. This is especially important when exercising in the cold as the cold temps can make your muscles tight and thus increase the chance of injuries.
If you dress in layers, you'll be better off. The mistake many of us make when exercising outside is dressing too warmly.
There are essentially three layers to consider:
- The base layer. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which wicks moisture and perspiration away from your body. Avoid cotton, which tends to stay wet next to your skin.
- The mid layer. This layer insulates and keeps you warm. Fleece is a good option.
- The outer layer. This layer allows moisture to escape while blocking wind and repelling water.
Protect Your Extremities
Provide extra protection for your hands and feet. Wear a thin pair of gloves under a pair of heavier gloves or mittens lined with wool or fleece. Wear a hat: 30 to 40 percent of your heat is lost through your head.
Stay Safe with Appropriate Gear
- Wear reflective clothing
- Make sure your footwear has proper traction
- Wear a helmet if you are skiing, snowboarding, or snowmobiling
- Don’t forget sunscreen. It's as easy to get sunburned in the winter as in the summer, even more, if you are exercising in the snow. Use a lip balm with sunscreen, and protect your eyes from snow and ice glare with sunglasses.
- Remember to moisturize. Put a moisturizer on your lips, face, hands or other areas that may be susceptible to the drying effects of the winter air.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Drink water before, during and after working out, even if you're not thirsty. You can become just as dehydrated in the cold as in the heat.
- Head into the wind. You'll be less likely to get chilled on the way back if you end your workout, when you may be sweaty, with the wind at your back.
- Pay attention to wind chill. If the temperature dips well below zero, choose an indoor activity instead.
- Try to schedule your workout during the warmest part of the day.
- If it's really icy out, reschedule outdoor exercise. It's not worth the risk of a fall.
- Work out with a buddy. You can help each other in the case of falls and keep an eye out for frostbite/hypothermia.
Fun Outdoor Activities
- Ice skating
- Cross-country skiing
- Downhill skiing
- Snow tubing
- Ice fishing
- Set up a winter obstacle course in your backyard
- Have a snowball fight
Keeping Active Inside
On those days when the temps dip too low, it’s too icy or the wind is blowing too hard, here are some indoor options to keep you moving.
- Walk at an indoor location, like a mall
- Create a home gym
- Find an exercise video on YouTube and do it
- Put on some music and dance away
- Join an exercise class
- Visit an indoor swimming pool
- Check out open gym at a community center
Staying active in the winter can help keep away the winter blues and prevent cabin fever. Some other benefits include increased energy, maintaining a healthy weight or help with weight loss, and boosting the immune system.