How to Exercise Outdoors in Cold Weather
Along the way, start with a base layer made of merino wool, polypropylene, or a material that will wick away water and sweat. These include glove liners, socks and hats that can get wet with sweat and freeze. Next, add a slightly thicker layer of fleece or light wool and top it off with something that breaks the wind. Sunglasses or goggles, as well as a buff, ties that can be pulled over the mouth and nose, protect the face. There are a variety of winter boot options. So be sure to check the temperature rating and traction.
“I buy hand and toe warmers in bulk and have them in my pockets,” said Dr. Katie Eichten, cross-country skier and emergency doctor at the Hayward Area Memorial Hospital in Wisconsin. “I also put one on the back of my phone and put both of them in a medium pocket to make the battery last longer.”
If you are driving into the mountains, your phone can be an especially powerful tool. Dustin Dyer, owner and director of the Kent Mountain Adventure Center, suggests downloading a navigation app like Avenza Maps, Powder Project or Trailforks that contains offline digital maps and uses your phone’s built-in GPS to locate you even if you are not there offer.
SAFETY FIRST Depending on your winter outdoor activity, you should consider special safety training.
Mr. Dyer, who leads backcountry skiers, snowboarders, and ice climbers, recommends CPR training for everyone.
“If you’re an hour away from grooming, spending several days outdoors, or really going offline, you should have Wilderness First Aid,” he said of the certification course. “And everyone who goes to the mountains in winter needs some kind of avalanche training. For most people, avalanche awareness focused on avoidance will be adequate. “
WARM UP (AND COOL DOWN) If you exercise in cold temperatures, your muscles will not be as flexible and you are at increased risk of injury and stress. The cold air also causes the upper airways to narrow, making it difficult to breathe. Breathing through your nose and covering your nose and mouth with a scarf or mask can warm the air before it reaches the lower airway. But both the muscles and the lungs need to warm up for at least 10 to 15 minutes.