Should you exercise in the cold?

Winter is slowly yet surely rolling in and dropping temperatures all across the United States. While it is tempting to bundle up and stay indoors with a nice cup of hot cocoa, humans aren’t really built to hibernate. It is still as important as ever to keep moving and fit routine exercise into your schedule. This is fully possible in an indoor environment such as a gym or a garage, but many fitness fanatics like to mix in outdoor exercises in their routine for some fresh air and a change of scenery. But how should your outdoor exercise routine change when the weather turns frigid and freezing?

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When is it too cold to exercise?

The human body is actually quite resistant to cold. That’s not to say that you should be running around the snow in a t-shirt and shorts, but with proper clothing and gear, even the exploration of the North and South Pole have been fully possible. The temperature at the poles can reach -45 °F and if humans can explore such a climate, then anywhere else where people normally inhabit should not be an issue with proper preparation. A more everyday example demonstrating that people can function in the cold are snow sports such as snowboarding and skiing.

It is important to note that if you are planning to work out in temperatures where snow is possible (below 32 degrees Fahrenheit) then you should be healthy with no significant health issues (such as asthma or heart disease) and be used to cold temperatures. Southern California natives who began working out last month should definitely think twice about jumping out in the freezing cold for a quick jog right away.

Even if you are accustomed to the cold, you need to dress warmly. Contrary to popular belief, we do not lose the most heat through our heads. You will lose heat through any exposed areas of your body, so headwear is still very important. In colder weather, circulation to your finger tips and toes suffer from a lack of circulation so it is vital to wear thick socks and gloves to keep your hands and feet warm and dry. You will also need a moisture-wicking base layer in order to keep sweat off your skin. If you wear a non-sweating wicking material, the sweat will stay on your skin and cause your body to stay cold and you will become sick.

Around -18-degrees Fahrenheit and below are when the risk of frostbite and hypothermia increase so be wary of venturing out when temperatures dip that low. Also be careful when checking the weather to pay attention to the wind because it could add additional issues.

Working out in the cold and snow is definitely possible but you must remember to bundle up properly, head to toe, with material that wicks sweat and allows your body to breathe. If you do not want to deal with all these issues, you can always buy some gym equipment and set up a home gym. A home gym located in your warm comfy home.

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