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6 Tips For Being Active Outdoors This Winter

Expectations and tips on how to stay safe during outdoor physical activity this winter.

As the temperature drops and daylight hours diminish, desire to be active outdoors can decrease. To help you stay on top of your fitness goals this winter season, check out the cold weather outdoor activity safety tips below.

  1. Check the Weather. Just as our bodies have a difficult time acclimating to outdoor physical activity in the heat of summer, our bodies also take time to acclimate to a decrease in temperature. If it is too cold or the conditions are not safe, consider working out indoors.
  2. Dress in Layers. When being active outdoors, make sure to dress for the weather. Wearing light, non-cotton layers and wearing a hat and gloves can help to keep you warm.
  3. Remember to do Warm-Ups. Warming up before working out gradually increases your heart rate and prepares your muscles for more strenuous activity. Participating in physical activity without warming up your muscles can result in injury. For additional tips visit the GO4Life and GirlsHealth.gov websites.
  4. Hydrate. Although you may not realize it, you lose quite a bit of fluid from sweating during your workout and breathing in the cold air. Make sure to hydrate before and after your workout.
  5. Know the signs of Hypothermia and Frostbite. Descriptions of hypothermia and frostbite can be found on the CDC’s website.
  6. Take Safety Precautions.
  • Wear bright colors or reflective clothing, such as a reflective vest or shoe light reflectors for outdoor activities like walking, running and cycling. If biking, make sure you have reflectors on the front and back of your bike. Wear a headlamp in the evening during activity to improve your ability to see and be seen.
  • Wear sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes. Sunlight reflecting off the snow can strain your vision.
  • Wear sunscreen. Although hours of daylight decrease during the winter, your exposure to the sun’s harmful rays has not.
  • Wear a helmet for biking, snowboarding or skiing.
  • Workout with a friend or family member.
  • Wear proper footwear for physical activity. If you are planning to run, make sure you wear thicker socks with your running shoes. The best way to keep your feet warm outdoors is to wear waterproof boots. For more information about proper footwear, visit OSHA’s Winter Weather Hazards and Precautions article.

For more information about cold weather activity and additional tips, check out the CDC’s Outdoor Safety During a Winter Storm article.

You can also check out the American Heart Association’s How to Stay Active in Cold Weather for more safety tips, and lists of outdoor and indoor activities.

Posted In: 
Prevention and Wellness