The winter is almost reaching the northern hemisphere with its low temperatures that usually bring nostalgia to people and discouragement to do various daily and basic tasks such as exercise.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the arrival of this season is not a pretext to stop these physical activities that provide great health benefits such as the prevention of chronic diseases and the control of a healthy weight.
On the contrary, it is a good time to go out to exercise outdoors, relax and feel fresh, as long as we follow a series of suggestions to avoid colds.
Read on for tips from the Mayo Clinic.
1. Stay safe when exercising in cold weather
Exercise is safe for most people, even in cold weather. The most susceptible people are those with chronic conditions such as asthma, heart problems, or Raynaud’s disease.
Mayo suggests consulting with a specialist for approval of exercise in cold weather, the type and how often to take medications depending on the condition.
2. Control the conditions and the wind chill.
Before leaving, check the weather and the forecasts for the following hours, depending on how long you will be outside.
Wind, temperature and humidity are factors that determine your routine and its duration.
“Wind and cold together form the ‘wind chill’, a frequent element in winter forecasts. The wind chill from extreme wind can make outdoor exercise unsafe, even if you wear warm clothes, ”says Mayo.
It can penetrate clothing and remove a layer known as hot air insulator that envelops the body. If this occurs, exposed skin is vulnerable to freezing.
According to experts, the body is at risk if the wind chill is lowered to nearly -28 degrees Celsius and is exposed to the air for 30 minutes or more.
In case of staying in an icy environment, it is recommended to take a break or choose physical activities indoors.
If one is chosen activity abroad In low temperatures even with rain or snow, it is recommended to use waterproof gear and several layers of clothing. Getting wet makes you more vulnerable to the cold, and you may not be able to maintain necessary body heat for long.
3. Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia
Low temperatures can lead to frostbite on your cheeks, nose and ears, mainly. In extreme cases they affect the hands and feet to the point of numbness, loss of sensation or burning sensation.
If you think you may get frostbite while exercising, take cover and try to warm your exposed skin, but don’t rub it, as it could cause further damage.
With the hypothermia You may feel an abnormal decrease in body temperature and that you get colder than you feel hot.
Experts point out that young children and older adults are more likely to develop hypothermia outdoors than a young adult.
Some of the signs and symptoms are severe chills, stammering, loss of coordination, and fatigue.
4. Wear several layers of clothing
Wearing a single coat is a common mistake when it’s cold because, while you exercise, your body generates a amount of heat enough to think that the temperature is higher than the real one.
Specialists suggest wearing several layers of clothing that can be removed as soon as the body begins to sweat.
First, a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene is recommended to help eliminate sweat, then a layer of wool or fleece to insulate temperatures and another more breathable and waterproof layer.
Read: How Much Exercise Do Kids Need, According to the Mayo Clinic?
5. Protect your head, hands, feet and ears
When it’s cold, the Blood flow it is concentrated in the center of the body, leaving the rest of the limbs vulnerable to frostbite.
Consider wearing lightweight polypropylene gloves under thick fleece or fleece-coated gloves.
Wear medium athletic shoes or one size larger to put on thermal socks or a second pair of regular socks. Also add a hat that protects your head or a band that reaches to cover the ears.
6. Use safety equipment
When you go out to exercise when it’s still dark, choose to use reflective clothingIf you ride a bike, use headlights and taillights. Wear sturdy shoes that prevent injury in case you fall. If you are going skiing or similar sports, wear a helmet.
7. Drink lots of fluids
Whether it’s hot or cold, staying hydrated is the key to enduring your workouts; be it water, sports drinks before, during and after exercise, even if you are not thirsty.
With the cold it is easier for the body to become dehydrated due to the dryness caused by the winter wind.