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How to Weatherproof Your Safe Outdoor Exercise

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Outdoor exercise may be an excellent method to vary your fitness program. Getting out of the gym and into nature allows you to encounter new views as you go about your day. This is not to say that Safe outdoor exercise is without challenges; the chilly winter months and hot, humid summer months may be difficult.

Weather can certainly get in the way of meeting your fitness objectives, whether it’s lost desire, fear of injury, or ambiguity about how to dress for both comfort and activity level.

Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

There’s no reason you can’t enjoy outdoor activities all year with the right information and planning. Exercise may be undertaken safely in most cold-weather settings, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, with a complete plan for preventing injuries, reducing cold stress with suitable gear and nutrition, and learning the signs and symptoms of cold injuries.

There are several advantages to exercising outside all year. Exercise is a natural antidepressant that can help reduce the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) throughout the winter. Working out in the light at any time of year raises serotonin levels, a hormone that regulates mood.

Exercising outside is also a terrific opportunity to incorporate other family members and friends. You can stroll, jog, or participate in an outdoor fitness class. If it’s a nice social event with an accountability buddy, you’re more likely to continue with it.

When to Avoid Outdoor Exercise

While outdoor exercise has many benefits, you should evaluate air quality and temperature to choose whether to stay indoors. Exercise in poor air quality might provoke allergies or asthma episodes. Because air quality is worse in the afternoon, try to avoid outdoor exertion during that period.

Extremely hot and cold weather are stressful on the body and can make outdoor exercise dangerous. If the temperature is 90 degrees or higher, or below freezing, you might consider moving your workout inside.

How Does Weather Impact Injuries?

Weather might also worsen pre-existing sports injuries. Muscles and tendons are tighter than usual in extremely cold conditions. While your injury may feel excellent during exercising, you may experience additional discomfort later on that may take longer to recover.

When exercising in very hot or cold conditions, it is critical to take particular measures to avoid aggravating the injury and perhaps keeping you out longer. Raechel Tomaselli, BSN, RN, ATC, an athletic trainer, states that “both temperature extremes can make an injury feel 90-100% fine while running and then much worse after.”

Tomaselli goes on to explain that muscles react differently in harsh conditions, and that your body is putting energy towards keeping you warm or cold, rather than preserving your injury.

What may appear to be an easy workout in 50 or 60 degree temperatures is no longer so in either temperature extreme. Preparing your body for what it is going to perform (AKA getting a solid warm up in!) is critical to staying healthy in any weather conditions.

Exercising in Cold Weather

Many of us like warm-weather outdoor workouts but retreat indoors as soon as the temperatures drop. Because muscles and joints stiffen in cold weather, your body will do everything it can to maintain your core temperature stable and prevent it from dropping to a hazardous level. Internal organs receive priority blood flow, whereas arm and leg muscles receive limited blood supply.

Strains and rips of tendons, muscles, and ligaments are more likely with stiffer muscles and shorter response times. A combination of low air pressure and increased demands on your body to maintain internal temperature are just a few of the reasons why injuries occur more frequently in colder weather.

Exercising in Hot Weather

When partaking in hot weather outdoor workouts, on the other hand, there are several aspects to consider. Similarly to how your body works hard to keep your core temperature warm in cold weather, your body works overtime to reduce your internal temperature in hot weather.

Regardless of the climate, most of us become hot and sweaty during a workout, which is a natural reaction to exercising muscles. Some of this heat escapes into the environment, while others raise core body temperature. The temperature outside has a huge impact on how efficiently the body releases heat into the surroundings. When the ambient temperature is already quite high, the body’s ability to cool itself becomes increasingly inefficient.

High body temperature can cause heat edema (swelling of the lower extremities), heat syncope (a sharp drop in blood pressure), and muscular cramps due to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

How to Prepare for Outdoor Workouts

Fortunately, with some careful preparation and planning, you may safely participate in any outdoor activities throughout the year.

Cold Weather Workouts

Before you go out for your exercise, perform 10-15 minutes of dynamic stretches and brief aerobic repeats, especially in the cold. Running coach Kai Ng also suggests having a hot shower before going out for a cold-weather run to raise internal body temperature.

Tomaselli constantly advises her customers to layer their clothing. “Don’t go out for a 5K in shorts and a t-shirt on a 40-degree day because you know you’ll be warm after one mile,” she advises. Plan out the layers you’ll wear and where they’ll go on your body when you take them off.” Don’t forget to wear gloves, caps, or headbands to keep your ears warm.

Before you go out for your exercise, perform 10-15 minutes of dynamic stretches and brief aerobic repeats, especially in the cold. Running coach Kai Ng also suggests having a hot shower before going out for a cold-weather run to raise internal body temperature.

Tomaselli constantly advises her customers to layer their clothing. “Don’t go out for a 5K in shorts and a t-shirt on a 40-degree day because you know you’ll be warm after one mile,” she advises. Plan out the layers you’ll wear and where they’ll go on your body when you take them off.” Don’t forget to wear gloves, caps, or headbands to keep your ears warm.

Hot Weather Workouts

Tomaselli recommends wearing lighter clothing than normal when exercising in hot weather. Begin your workout at a low level and gradually raise the intensity based on how well your body handles the heat.

How you nourish your body may also prepare it for injury-free activity in hot (or cold!) weather. In extremely hot and humid conditions, remain especially hydrated. Hydration is vital even in chilly weather since you may not notice how much fluid you have lost because you sweat less.

As a general rule, replenish every pound lost with 2-3 glasses of water. If you’re exercising for 60 minutes or more and sweating profusely, sports drinks can help you replace electrolytes and hydrate effectively.

Whatever the temperature, it’s always a good idea to feed with high carbohydrate meals before exercise and recover with protein afterward. Eat warm meals like soups, chili, and pasta in cold weather to bring up the core body temperature after a frigid workout.

While winter and summer may undoubtedly make the average workout more difficult, careful preparation allows you to exercise safely in all seasons.

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