Fitness expert's top safety tips for exercising outside in winter
Matthew Magnante, an exercise author at FitnessVolt has these tips to keep in mind when exercising outdoors during the colder months:
Drink even if you don’t feel thirsty
We’re at an elevated risk of dehydration when exercising in colder temperatures.
To prevent dehydration, continue to drink water as you would during summer.
Opt for a glass of water before heading out and sip on a drink throughout and after your workout.
Don’t forget to fuel your body with food before exercising outdoors.
Opt for polyester over cotton T-shirts
If you’re prone to sweating while exercising, cotton is one of the worst materials you can wear when the temperatures drop.
Moisture-wicking materials such as polyester or wool will keep you warmer.
A three-tier layering system works best, comprised of a base layer such as polyester; a main layer such as wool; and a waterproof outer layer that repels rain, snow and wind.
Stretch before and after exercise
Stretching before you exercise is particularly important in winter as your muscles tend to contract, making them more prone to injury.
Try to incorporate dynamic stretches before you head out for a winter run.
Post workout perform static stretches, which require you to stretch and hold a muscle group for 15-30 seconds.
Static stretches should only be used as part of a cool down routine, to help lower your heart rate and relax your muscles.
Cut your sessions in half
Running on snow and ice engages different muscles to running on dry ground and you’re likely to put yourself at risk of injury if you try to complete your regular running distance without first adapting to the new conditions.
On icy routes halve your regular running distance until you have adapted to running on slippery or uneven surfaces.
Allow yourself four to six weeks of regularly running on snow or icy terrain, before you start to build back up to your regular running distance.
Reducing the distance between each step will allow you to recover more easily if you lose your balance.
Let someone know where you’re going
Even for the most confident among us, it’s important to let someone know where you are going before you head out on a walk or run during winter.