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Exercising Safely in Winter Weather

By Donna Stark

When the brutally cold weather hits your town, it can be challenging to exercise outdoors. In addition to protecting yourself from extreme elements like snow, wind, and sleet, you also need to know the warning signs of when your body may be in distress. After all, there is no point in putting yourself in danger to burn calories that can easily be burned by doing something indoors instead. So, before you head out on your next walk or run, take a look at the following exercise safety tips.

Dress Appropriately

Just like you need to dress for success at work, you need to dress for success with your winter exercises. The best, and most efficient, way to dress when heading outdoors for your workouts is to layer your clothes.

  • Your first layer should consist of items made from moisture-wicking material. Try to avoid wearing cotton as much as you can because it will stay wet from your sweat.
  • Your second layer should be all about warmth. Anything that will insulate you is what should be chosen, so think about vests, sweatshirts, and fleece jackets.
  • Your top layer should protect you from the elements. A windbreaker or heavier jacket will work here. Also, don't forget about your hat, gloves, and scarf.

Decrease the Intensity

Your body is going to be using more energy to perform your usual routine, so you may want to decrease the intensity of your workout. It's also important to focus on the correct form while exercising. While it may be tempting to slouch forward or to rush through the motions, you could end up with an injury from doing so.

Know the Danger Signs

Hypothermia will sneak up on you quickly if you aren't being careful or paying attention and that can lead to a host of serious health issues! Here are some of the warning signs to look out for.

  • Muscle weakness
  • Shivering
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Low, shallow breathing
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slow or weak pulse

If you experience any of these symptoms, don't ignore them! Instead, move immediately to a warm area and seek help.

Exercising in the Cold

Exercising outdoors when the weather is less than ideal may be challenging, but with the right precautions, it can also be comfortable, safe, and fun. Just remember to plan ahead, stay on top of any weather changes, and listen to your body! And remember, if all else fails, there is always that treadmill in the corner of the bedroom you can use.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lakewood, Colo.

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