Science

How to exercise when it’s colder and darker

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If it’s raining, you can wear a hat with a visor to make it easier for you to see, Terrell said. Thin hats or balaclavas can also help keep you warm because much of the heat is lost through your head, Fleeter added. And don’t forget warm gloves and socks (maybe wool), because when the body is cold, the blood moves away from the extremities so that the center stays warm, so hands and feet (and ears) ) are vulnerable to freezing, Terrell said.

Also make sure you’re wearing the right footwear for the weather, Goldwaser added. If it’s raining, snowing or icy, it’s a good idea for shoes to have a prominent tread on the bottom for good traction. (That said, if there’s a lot of ice or snow, you might want to stay indoors, Fleeter cautioned.)

When you exercise in cold temperatures, you shouldn’t stop hydrating, even if you don’t feel thirsty, Fleeter said. When it’s cold, the body releases a hormone called vasopressin that constricts blood vessels and also suppresses thirst, so you may not feel like you need to drink water even if you do, she explained. Also, when you exercise in the cold, your body burns more calories to stay warm, so you may want to eat a little more than usual to keep your energy level up, she added.

Don’t forget to stretch your muscles before an outdoor winter workout, Goldwaser said, because muscles and ligaments are prone to tearing when they’re cold. Goldwaser recommended the dynamic stretches, which gently and briefly stretch various muscle groups; these may be safer than static stretches, which are held longer because, in his opinion, they could stress cold muscles.

Whenever you’re exercising outdoors alone, tell someone where you’re going or carry a phone in case you get hurt, Terrell advised. If you’re nervous about encountering animals or other hazards, consider carrying pepper or bear spray as well, if it’s legal where you live.

Never exercise outside during a thunderstorm, Goldwaser said; the chance of being struck by lightning is small, but significant enough to warrant caution. Terrell suggested checking the weather forecast before an outdoor excursion to make sure bad weather isn’t expected. If you have to take your workout indoors from time to time, “have a plan B,” Terrell said, so you can keep working out. I do bar videos in my basement, for example.

Fleeter said you should never exercise outdoors when the temperature or wind chill is below -23 degrees Celsius, because the risk of frostbite is high. It’s also wise to stay indoors when it’s a little warmer, depending on what you’re going to do. Fleeter said that if you’re going to ride a bike, it will be windy, which will make you feel colder, so he suggests that people don’t ride a bike when the temperature is below -9 degrees Celsius, and advises against running when the temperature is below -9 degrees Celsius. is below -15 degrees.

With so many new safety strategies, I’m excited to continue my walks outside all winter, but I’m not giving up my common sense either. On the nastiest, coldest days, I’m going to suck it up and do squats instead. “Be smart with mother nature,” says Terrell. “She usually wins.”

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