Exercising In The Cold

When you’re program is running or exercising outside in the cold in the winter, you need to make some changes. Even though Atlanta, GA may not get as cold as areas like Minnesota or Northern Michigan, it still is damp and chilly, with temperatures dropping to the 30s. That can mean you can either switch to working out inside or dress appropriately for the weather. Planning for cold weather is important, since inclement weather is often the reason cancel their workout or run.

Dressing appropriately is top priority.

The colder it gets, the more you have to adjust your clothing. As it gets colder outside, your body has to deal with more issues than just the exercise. When cold weather hits, the arteries constrict and makes the flow of blood to the heart more difficult. Anyone with heart problems should seriously consider moving their workout indoors when the temperature drops. Other health issues, such as breathing difficulties like asthma requires additional attention to maintain moisture in the air you breathe. They trap the moisture and prevent bronchoconstriction that can occur when the air is dryer.

It’s all about dressing for wind, rain, cold and expecting it to be colder.

Always prepare for the worst. While it might look wonderfully warm and clear, that doesn’t mean the wind can’t take its toll. Wind-chill makes you feel colder than you are, just as drizzle and rain do. Take a step outside or check the weather to include the wind-chill factor in the way you dress if you’re going for a jog or run.

Don’t forget to layer your clothing and have a waterproof top layer on drizzly or rainy days.

While we’re lucky enough to have milder winters, it doesn’t mean they’re comfortable. We have drizzle rain and occasionally, even a tad bit of snow or ice, especially in January. On those days, you need a waterproof layer on top. A waterproof poncho is a good idea. Layer your clothing underneath so you can remove a layer or two as you warm up. You definitely don’t want to sweat, which will make you colder. It’s the quickest way to get a chill. Warm socks, gloves and a cap are important. You lose most of your body heat through the top of your head. Your first layer should be thinsulate or other fabric made for insulation. Top that off with several other layers you can remove. Light and layered is the key.

  • Don’t be fooled by the chilly temperatures, you still need adequate hydration when you run or workout, even if it’s colder. Hydrate as you would in warmer weather. You’ll be sweating, but may not notice it as much.
  • One common myth is that you won’t get frostbite in Atlanta. It can occur when the wind-chill is below five degrees. That can occur here, so be prepared and aware of the symptoms. The wind-chill factor affects the body just as though the temperature is that cold.
  • It’s even more important to warm up before starting in the winter. Add a few minutes to your warm up to ensure that your range of motion is at full capacity. You’ll feel stiffer in cold weather.
  • Have an alternative. If you exercise outdoors, have a backup plan for those chilly, wet or windy days. Whether it’s an indoor workout in your home or going to the gym, it’s better to be safe and warm for your workout.

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