Exercising in Cold Weather

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A common question asked as the temperatures start dropping is, when is it too cold to exercise*? It’s already snowed, the wind will pick up, and the last thing most people want to do is exercise outside. Don’t let the cold weather become another excuse, get out and get active. As long as you take the proper precautions and stay safe, the cold shouldn’t slow down your exercise routine.

The body is remarkable and is designed to withstand almost anything. Therefore, a little cold should not discourage you from exercising. Rather, learn how to avoid injury and exercise smarter in the cold Wisconsin winter months.

Make sure that your usual warm-up is prolonged and your body is ready before you head out into the cold. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids; staying properly hydrated is just as important when it’s cold out. Even if you’re not thirsty, dehydration is more difficult to notice in the colder weather. With the increased risk of falling or slipping, make sure you tell someone where you are running and when you expect to get back. Accidents happen every day and you want to make sure you are covered if you have one.

Here are a few more tips for exercising in cold weather:

• Dress in at least three layers
• Always wear a hat
• Cover your face
• Wear gloves
• Sturdy footwear with traction is pivotal!
• Wear reflective clothing

Written by Colleen Baughn, OTR, CES

*Before starting any workout plan, verify with your physician to make sure you are ready to pursue rigorous exercise. (Remember our licensed physical therapists are able to provide an evaluation before starting exercise.)

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