Be Active Outside!
If you enjoy exercising outside the cold weather does not have to be discouraging. Here are some ideas to making your fall and winter workouts effective and safe.
Prepare for Less Daylight. If you are used to walking or riding you bike outside in the evening, the decrease in daylight hours increase your need to stay safe while exercising outdoors. Take extra precautions - dress in bright colors or wear reflective strips on your clothing.
Watch Your Step
Keep an eye out for icy patches while outside that can cause you to slip and fall or that may cause cars to slide into you. Try to avoid higher traffic areas under these conditions.
Cover Your Head
Before heading outdoors, put on a hat to avoid losing excess body heat. You can lose up to 40% of your body heat through your uncovered head. Wearing a hat that covers your ears and face can also help with windburn and chapping. Conisder a face make that will warm the cold, dry air before it enters your lungs. Winter air can be rough on your lungs.
The Key to Layering
Be careful to not dress too warmly for an outdoors workout. Discomfort, premature fatigue and even heat exhaustion are symptoms that you are dressed too warmly. Excess body heat you generate cannot escape due to all the layers of clothing, It's OK to feel a little cold during the first few minutes, but be sure to wear enough clothing to avoid frostbite.
The colder weather may be discouraging for outside exercising, but it is important to keep moving, even during the winter. You may find that indoor activity is more your style during the winter months. Find new motivators such as an exercise partner or set new long-term goals.
Flexibility is the ability to extend each joint through its normal range of motion. It is one of the most basic components of physical fitness and should be included in any exercise program. Inactivity, aging and even exercise can result in tight muscles and connective tissue that results in decreased range of motion. Flexibility exercises can increase and maintain a more optimal range of motion. Flexibility also allows individuals to become "in tune" with their bodies. Save your stretching until after your activity. Stretching before activity can lead to injury, so do a light warm-up before you step up the intensity. After your activity, a good stretch will have lasting benefits by stretchwing warm muscles that will help your cool down as well.
Always carry some identification and a small amount of money (for a phone call, or a drink) with you. A whistle is also a good idea in case you need to call for help--you can just keep it on your key chain or attach it to your water bottle.
Make sure that you are visible; especially when walking at night! Wear reflective clothing, walk on sidewalks or trails if possible and bring a flashlight if you can!
Lighten Your Load
Avoid carrying anything that may become a burden on your walk. Use a backpack to even your load if you are walking on errands, or use a fanny pack for the bare essentials. Don’t make the trip harder than it needs to be!
Walk facing traffic and keep your eyes open for aggressive dogs or even a quick-moving storm! Also know that wearing headphones can drown out important sounds around you such as car horns; so if you must wear headphones, keep the volume low or only in one ear.
It may not seem like it, but it is very easy to get dehydrated in the winter months. Drink water before, during, and after your activity.
Get outside and enjoy the beauty of winter on the Wasatch Front with FREE and family-friendly activities.
Planning ahead can make all the difference in the world with an exercise program. Here are some indoor exercise options for bad weather that will help you to stay active.
- Make use of an on-site company gym if one is available to you
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Walk the hallways at work
- Join an exercise class at your local recreation center or at a health club
- Walk at a mall or a large store
- Dance around your house or take a dance class
- Follow an exercise video or an exercise program - involve the whole family
- Exercise at home or at a gym on an exercise bike, treadmill or other equipment
- Walk to your colleagues' offices instead of using the phone or e-mail
- Enjoy the scenery and friends on the Path to Health
- Invite your friends, family, and coworkers to walk with you
- Wear good comfortable shoes and clothes
- If you're not in the habit of taking regular exercise, start slowly, enjoy being out and about, and gradually build up to the recommended 30 minutes walking a day
- If you have heart or other major disease, talk to your doctor before you start. Stop walking if you get chest pain or other problems, and see your doctor
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