Sticking to that New Year’s Resolution to improve physical fitness, but it’s looking too cold outside? Embrace the cold, but do it right.
Remember that outdoor activity in colder temperatures requires some precaution – and thermal injuries can occur a lot faster than people realize when the conditions are ripe.
Age is a major factor for those at most risk of a cold-weather injury related to outdoor activity, especially when temperatures drop below freezing. Fortunately, it doesn’t stay cold for long in this part of the country, but it’s important to heed healthy guidelines.
The National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA) suggests that anyone who exercises outdoors in the cold should be sure to stretch muscles indoors before heading outside and be sure to reduce the amount of skin exposed to the elements once heading outdoors. NATA also suggests dressing in layers to help your body adjust to weather conditions and changes in your body temperature while outdoors.
It’s also important to listen to your body while exercising outdoors in the cold. You may need to take more breaks than during warmer weather. Those breaks are especially important for young children and those older than age 50 because those age groups have less tolerance for cold temperatures.
As the 2018 Winter Olympics are upon us, athletes make it look easy to perform in the coldest of cold weather. But, keep in mind, they are the best of the best. Even they have rigorous warm-up and cool-down routines to keep them healthy while in the cold.
Bottom line: If your exercise routine has always been outdoors, don’t let the cold weather damper your desires. Just be sure to alter your routine a bit to keep from straining muscles unnecessarily.