Cold Weather Fitness: How to Exercise Safely Outdoors

It’s so easy to get out there to exercise on a beautiful summer day. But what happens when that snow begins to fall and the air turns chilly? It can be hard to stay motivated during these frosty months, but it is more important to stay healthy and safe. We’ve collected our top three tips from mayoclinic.org on how to stay safe when exercising outdoors this winter.

Tip #1: Dress in Layers

The colder it is outside, the warmer we typically like to dress — but when exercising in the cold, it is better to dress in layers. Exercise makes your body heated very quickly, and with an added amount of clothing bundled around you, the heating process can happen even more drastically. You can always peel layers of clothing off over the duration of your workout, and even put it back on as needed.

You may need to use trial and error to see what types of clothing work best for you, but start out with a synthetic material. This won’t allow the sweat to cling to your body that make you freeze. Next, a fleece or wool layer should be placed over top for insulating purposes. Finish your outfit off with a waterproof layer that is easy to move in.

Tip #2: Recognize the Signs of Frostbite

Frostbite is an injury to your body that is caused by the freezing of exposed skin (nose, ears, cheeks, fingers, etc.) The early signs of frostbite are stinging, loss of feeling, and numbness.

If you feel like you are getting frostbite, get inside right away. Rinse the affected area with cold water, slowly moving to warm water. It is not encouraged to rub your skin in any way; this can cause extra damage.

Hypothermia is another harmful injury that can happen to your body when exercising outdoors. Hypothermia happens when your body temperature is significantly low, and symptoms include slurred speech, shivering, and loss of coordination.

Tip #3: Check the Weather

Check the temperature before going outside to workout. When the wind chill is very cold, it can make exercising outdoors dangerous no matter what clothes you have on. The length of time that you’ll be outdoors is also important to consider.

When the weather becomes too cold to bear, chose to workout indoors instead or take a break. It is better to be safe than sorry!

Erica D'Arcangelo is an Internet Marketing Expert and co-owner of Fresh, Healthy & Fit where she is a regular contributor. Erica has been active in the health and fitness industry through spinning, yoga, HITT training and much more over the last decade. She's a fitness enthusiast and has also helped others with healthy living through her own blog.