Stay Safe During Your Winter Workout
As told by Allison Reinhardt, the Regional Wellness Director at the Southern Saratoga and Glenville YMCA
Snow day today? Take your workout outside!
Living in the great Northeast means enjoying the magic of each of the four seasons, and this year, Mother Nature wants to give them all to us in the course of a couple of weeks. Just because it is snowing out, doesn’t mean that you should bail on your workout. Exercising in the snow with just a few safeguards will keep you safe and ready to enjoy the great outdoors!
Dress in layers
Dressing in layers is essential. When you first walk outdoors your body will be cooler than post warm up. Peel off some layers as you begin to sweat to let excess body heat out and stay drier. Sweat is made to cool your body and will make you super cold if you allow sweaty clothes to dry on you while still outdoors. Wear breathable fabrics that have built in ventilation, mesh or zippered underarms, and are loose but not big.
Choose footwear wisely
Icy road conditions create slipping hazards for runners and walkers alike- not just for falls, but for slips into traffic. Wear Yak Trax or pick a shoe specifically made for running in snow such as the Saucony Razor Ice+. Running on packed snow is safer than running on ice and shortening your stride may create less of a slipping hazard.
You may not need as much as in July, but still drink up. The environment can trick you into believing that you do not need to replenish, but you lose hydration through an increased respiration rate in addition to perspiration. Hydrate before and after exercise, and if you will be working out for more than 60 minutes at a moderate to high intensity, take some water in an insulated container with you.
Sunscreen still matters
Those clear days with brightly shining sun and stunning blue skies make it almost impossible to stay in the house. UV rays can still damage skin even if the warmth does not seem incredibly powerful. The reflective nature of the snow can intensify the effects of the sun as well. Apply a sweat-proof sunscreen to exposed skin before heading out.
If you will be in an area with traffic or in an area with hunters, stay visible with bright colors; avoid whites, grays, and browns. Watch the size of snowbanks as well; oncoming cars should be able to easily spot you.
Check the temp and the wind chill
Winter is not a license to park on the couch for five months, but you do need to pay attention to wind chills to limit frostbite risk. At an air temp of 5⁰ F the risk of frostbite is very low- about 5%. With a wind chill change to -18⁰ skin could freeze in 30 minutes. If the temperature creates a safety risk, stay in and do some squats, lunges, and pushups.
Whatever your workout is, you can take it outside this season. Have fun, stay safe, and live healthy!