Friday, February 4, 2011

Cold-Weather Workouts

Alright, I’ll admit it. It’s cold outside. School is closed. The gym is closed, too. The sky is overcast and I am really tempted to stay inside by the fire with a warm cup of tea and a good book in my lap. However, my little girl reminds me that heading out the door for some cold-weather workouts will reap great rewards (mainly my sanity from having to handle a two year old that has a mild case of cabin fever).
So, I feel confident that all will be well for a brisk outdoor walk as long as we take care to stay warm and safe.
Dress Right.
You might not be tethered to a toddler, so running (rather than walking) may be an option for you. However, running and playing in the cold requires you to be very thoughtful about your wardrobe. Obviously, you can't take off in a t-shirt and shorts.
Instead, you'll want to wear layers of clothing. As you begin to sweat, remove a layer to keep your sweat from causing you to get cold later. Then put your outermost layers back on when you begin to grow cold. For best warmth, the layer against your body should be polypropylene or another synthetic material, followed by fleece and then something waterproof and breathable on top.
Work the Wind.
So it is literally freezing outside, and the wind can make it feel even colder. Blowing, freezing wind is one of the hardest parts to overcome if you're trying to force yourself to work out in the cold. Keep the wind beneath your wings by facing the blowing breeze during the beginning of your run or bicycle ride. This way, you'll be running with the wind on your way back home, making the return trip much more pleasant and making you more likely to want to do it again the next day.
Think Hot.
Becoming dehydrated may seem to be a concern only valid during the hot summer months, but you need plenty of liquids in your system year round to keep your system well watered. To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout - even if you don't feel thirsty yet. Because once you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.
Get Back InFor the most part, you can exercise in the cold and reap only benefits from your routine. Sometimes, however, exercising in the cold isn't a good idea. If you exercise outside when you shouldn't, the results can be bone-chillingly bad. When should you get back inside? The following are signs that you need to get inside and stay there:
* The temperature is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (or –17.8 degrees Celsius). At these temperatures, you're at risk for lowering your body temperature, which can have horrid results.
* You experience frostbite or hypothermia. The initial signs of frostbite include numbness, loss of feeling, paleness, or stinging in the fingers, face, and toes. Hypothermia is recognized by unstoppable shivering, fatigue, loss of coordination, and slurred speech. If these symptoms are present, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
As for me and Lexi (my daughter), we’ll be bundled up and waddling through the neighborhood to a nearby park for some much needed activity. Maybe we’ll see you out?
Until next time – Live Life Well,
John Aaron Villarreal

The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

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