You don’t have to be a hardcore winter sports enthusiast to keep your fitness game on during the chilly winter months—but, of course, you want to stay safe, too! While you might opt to become a gym-goer, join an indoor sports team, or take up rock climbing or indoor fitness classes in winter, you don’t have to give up the great outdoors once the snow flies and the temperatures begin to drop—whether you’re in Colorado like Jon and Burton, or in Manitoba like Gerry and myself.
Dress the part: Keep your hands, feet and head warm! If you have a lung condition, such as exercise induced asthma, that’s made worse by cold weather, cover your mouth and nose with a scarf or face mask to warm the air before it hits your lungs.
Dress in layers, and avoid cotton which will trap any sweat close to your body and make you get colder faster. Moisture-wicking materials aren’t just for summertime: use a baselayer for winter activity to help you stay warm. Mittens help keep fingers warmer than gloves, and your body loses most of its heat through your head—just like mama told you!—so wear a hat.
Be aware of the temperature: In extreme cold, it’s advisable to avoid exercising outdoors. Be mindful of the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia, and head inside to warm-up regularly.
Watch your step: Be cautious and wear shoes or boots with grippy soles to help you keep traction on ice and uneven snow. “Black ice”, or ice that’s invisible, isn’t just for roads—step cautiously, especially when re-acclimating to wintery sidewalks!
Wear a helmet! I wrote extensively about helmets for bike safety back in May, but the same tips apply: if you’re headed out onto the ice to skate or play hockey, or the slopes to snowboard or ski, or hitting some snow on a snowmobile, make sure to protect your head.
Keep your medications safe: If you’ve got insulin, epinephrine or inhalers, or other medications that have to be stored at specific temperatures, keep them close to your body in the winter to make sure they work the way you need them to.
Try a new sport: Okay, so it’s not really a safety tip, but whether indoors or outdoors, try out a new sport or activity this winter! Whether that’s snowboarding, a dance class, or figure skating, give a new activity a try! If you’re a parent, get your kids into something new, and join them—learn together!
What are your fitness tips to avoid the treadmill all winter? Let us know in the comments! And remember, for your winter activity pursuits, consider trying one of our Sport Medical ID wristbands to keep the metal off your skin in colder temperatures!