Survival Guide: Winter Exercise
January 4, 2011
By Bob Holliday, The (Bloomington, Ill.) Pantagraph
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Exercising outdoors in the winter can be a bit slippery. You should, for instance, keep a close watch for frostbite and ice.
Despite such hazards, there are a number of precautions that can keep the winter outdoor exercise enthusiast safe and comfortable. Dressing appropriately is foremost.
"The layer next to your skin should be tight. Lycra is good or polyester," said Steve Stover, a personal trainer at Gold`s Gym and Fitness Center in Bloomington. Stover said the second layer could be polyester as well, but can fit looser than the first.
An outer layer could be a wind breaker or vest, he said. Don`t forget the fingers or head, where much heat is lost. Stocking caps are effective, he said.
While layering is important, those exercising outdoors in the winter should avoid overdressing. A good rule of thumb, Stover said, is to dress like it`s 15 to 20 degrees warmer because the body heats up significantly once we start exercising.
Nate Henry, a programs representative at Sports Enhancement Center in Bloomington, agrees layering is important. In addition to controlling moisture, layering allows the athlete to remove layers when overheating, Henry said.
Both Henry and Stover agreed it might be best to exercise inside if it`s too cold outside, but "how cold is too cold" is an individual thing, they said.
In addition to wearing proper clothes, those exercising outdoors in the winter must make sure they are properly warmed up, Stover said.
"If you`ve been exercising hard inside the gym you can probably hit the door running," he said. If not, you need to warm up.
Drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise is important year-round because proper fluid levels help prevent dehydration.
A final caution for exercising outside in the winter: Set reasonable limits on the length of the exercise.
"Judge the time you are out because you can get chilled," Stover said.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.
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