Exercising During Cold & Hot Weather

When the weather turns cold and snowy or hot and humid, are you tempted to abandon your exercise program? Motivating yourself during extreme weather conditions can be a challenge and it can be tough to get going on those frosty mornings or steamy afternoons. But it is well worth it. Even if you don’t do as much exercise as you might normally, even a minimal amount of movement will benefit your body and, more importantly, keep you in your exercise routine. The other thing to consider is that when the temperature soars or drops dramatically, it may not be safe to do your usual exercise routines.

In high temperatures—over 32°C—the body quickly becomes dehydrated. In high humidity—over 75%—the cooling action of perspiration is less effective and your body temperature can soar to dangerous levels. In extremely cold weather the possibility of frostbite is always a concern and some people experience temporary breathing trouble while exercising.

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Different Exercise Choices

Exercising indoors in a temperature-controlled atmosphere is your safest bet during extreme weather conditions. Try the shopping mall for your daily walk, a televised exercise program for a change, the local gym or invest in a piece of
home fitness equipment.
If you choose to continue your outdoor workouts, pick a time of day when the temperature is more moderate. An early morning workout along a shaded pathway is a safe bet on hot days. During the winter months, look for a route sheltered from the wind and take advantage of the warm
sunny hours of the day. And watch out for ice on sidewalks or slippery frost-covered paths.

Extreme Weather Dressing

When exercising in the heat, wear loose clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible. Wear sunblock (SPF 15 or higher), a hat and sunglasses.
In the cold, you want to avoid hypothermia and frostbite at all costs. Do this by wearing multiple layers of clothes. Make sure you cover your head and wear mittens instead of gloves. These simple steps will prevent heat from escaping from your body. You may find that a scarf loosely tied around your mouth helps to warm the cold air as you inhale.

Additional Tips

Drink lots of water. A person of average weight should drink at least 12 cups of water a day if working out in the heat. Remember to replace lost fluids during the winter months as well. High altitudes can also mean you need more water.
Do not keep exercising if you feel dizzy, faint or nauseated. These are signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke and may occur when your body is working at such a high level of intensity that it can’t cool itself. It is not worth taking the chance, so take it easy.

Exercise should make you feel good.

If you feel chilled or sense any numbness or discomfort, be sensible and head indoors as soon as possible. Though not usually life threatening, cold exposure can certainly ruin your outdoor exercise activities.

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