Hey for those of you who are looking to get fit and don’t want to give up running outdoors just because the temperatures have plummeted (for instance all the way down into the upper 50′s here in Arizona), here are some tips to lessen the pain of butting heads with Mother Nature:
- Dress in layers. Innermost should be one of those wicking fabrics like silk or the synthetic polyesters or polypropylene. Next layer is insulating, most recommendations I see are for fleece. And the outer layer should be a wind and water resistant material, that could possibly have additional insulation itself. Benefit of layers is you can always remove one if necessary. Don’t be afraid to start just a little chilly, you will warm up quickly.
- Stay hydrated. Winter weather, while obviously much cooler, is also much dryer. As we work harder to stay warmer, we are losing more moisture through our respiration, in addition to sweat. Good advice to drink more water an hour or two before heading out to exercise, and carrying some water with you if you plan to be out for more than 20-30 minutes.
- Fuel the fire. We also can burn extra calories exercising in the cold, so be sure and eat a carbohydrate-rich snack or meal a couple of hours prior to exercise if possible. For prolonged outdoor activities, consider stashing a power bar or gel pack in one of your pockets to snack on during exercise.
- Be careful. Carry your cell phone with you in case of trouble. Much less daylight hours in the winter so have some reflective material on your outer layers. If exercising in the snow, wear darker or brighter colors.
- Law of Traction. When running in snowy or potentially icy areas, wear shoes with extra traction, with nubs, or shoes such as trail runners.
- An ounce of prevention. Take care to avoid some potential hazards. Cold dry air can be a trigger for some with asthma. Start with small sessions of exercise, preferably with a buddy and close to home, and take your inhaler with you. Also, in really cold weather, remember to cover all exposed areas of the skin to avoid frostbite (not a really big problem here in Phoenix). That means wearing gloves and face masks. And for goodness sakes, do as Grandmother B always said and wear a hat. Lots of heat lost through the noggin’ so choose one made of fleece or other insulating material.
Happy Running. Dr. Treat.
(photo attribution license)
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