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Reasons to Stay Active in the Winter

Ask anyone what their favorite season is and the likely answer is will summer or fall. Winter can be an underrated season, even though the days are shorter and the temperatures drop, it is a beautiful time to get cozy and enjoy the beauty of the season. While the cold temperatures are a great excuse to stay inside, there are a myriad of benefits to staying active in the winter.

According to The American Heart Association, there’s no reason you need to take a break from physical activity when the temperature drops. In fact, exercising in cooler weather has some distinct advantages over working out in warmer weather. Consider the following tips before heading outdoors this winter.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • No heat and humidity to deal with. Winter’s chill might even make you feel awake and invigorated.

  • You may be able to work out longer in cold weather—which means you can burn even more calories.

  • It’s a great way to take in the sunlight (in small doses). Not only can light improve many people’s moods, it also helps you get some vitamin D.

Exercise boosts your immunity during cold and flu season. Just a few minutes a day can help prevent simple bacterial and viral infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Try these outdoor activities:

  • Brisk walking or hiking

  • Jogging or running

  • Raking leaves

  • Shoveling snow

  • Ice skating

  • Sledding

  • Cross-country skiing

  • Snowshoeing

Stay Warm, Stay Safe

Staying warm and dry when heading out to exercise in cold weather is all about layers. A little preparation can keep you safe from cold weather hazards like hypothermia and frostbite.

Cold temperatures, strong winds, and damp conditions (like rain and snow) steal your body heat. For example, according to the National Weather Service, a 30-degree day with 30-mile-an-hour wind feels like about 15 degrees. And if you get wet (from rain, snow, or perspiration) that effect is only magnified. That’s why layers of clothing are so important. They help trap the heat and form a kind of insulation against the elements.

Resist your instinct to start layering with cotton. Once cotton becomes wet with sweat or snow, the moisture is trapped and will actually make you feel colder (and heavier). For your first layer, you want something that pulls moisture away from your skin, like the moisture-wicking fabrics used in high-performance sportswear. Next, add a layer of fleece; finally, top with a thin waterproof layer.

Know the Signs

Hypothermia means the body temperature has fallen below 35 degrees Celsius or about 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It occurs when your body can't produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warm enough. It can kill you.

Symptoms can include:

  • lack of coordination

  • mental confusion

  • slowed reactions

  • slurred speech

  • cold feet and hands

  • shivering

  • sleepiness

Children and the elderly may be at more risk because they may have limited ability to communicate or impaired mobility. Elderly people may also have lower subcutaneous fat and a diminished ability to sense temperature, so they can suffer hypothermia without knowing they're in danger.

Stay Hydrated

Don’t forget to drink water when exercising in cooler weather. Thirst isn’t the best indicator that you need to drink.

This winter, resist the urge to pull the blankets over your head and take a nap, instead get outside and enjoy the beauty of the season! Performance Orthopedics, our team is here for you if you have any questions or need advice. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!



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