Starting in July and typically ending around August, Australia’s winter weather hits 17 degrees Celsius or 63 degrees Fahrenheit on average. Rainfall of roughly 96 mm also occurs during this time, which can be quite cold if you’re spending a few hours outdoors for a workout.
This is why even if you’re “heating up” due to the exercise, it’s still important to have precautionary measures against extreme cold. Here are some tips you’ll need to know.
Check Weather Condition and Wind Chill First
Before gearing up for an outdoor run, you’d want to make sure the weather is activity-friendly. If the temperature hits below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, this can already be dangerous since it increases the chances of injuries brought on by the cold weather.
Ideally, any outdoor exercise you do should be on the warmer side of the day. Fortunately, there are enough online apps to help you figure out the temperature outdoors and plan accordingly.
Warm It Up and Cool It Down
Now more than ever, a good warmup is important to help you prepare your body for the cold. The warmup also stretches the muscles and limiting the possibility of an injury.
The same goes for a proper cool down that lets’ your body settle back into room-temperature goodness. With proper cooldowns, you’ll find it easier to recover and go back out again the next day.
Get Plenty of Water
People hydrate often during the summer because they can feel the sweat dripping down their body. Does this mean you don’t need to hydrate in the cold because there’s no sweat?
No. Dehydration can increase chances of injury during a workout and that’s the last thing you want. Make sure to drink room-temperature water before, during, and after an exercise in the cold.
Layer It Up
Make sure you’re dressed properly for an exercise in the cold by layering up your clothes to tuck in all the warmth. Remember though – warmth isn’t the only goal here.
Your clothes should be the kind that keeps you DRY – otherwise you’ll be wasting precious body heat. Layered clothing helps limit the possibility of the snow and damp seeping into your clothes and leaving your skin cold.
Pay More Attention to Head, Hands, Ears, and Feet
These body parts are the most vulnerable in the cold weather. Wear gear that keeps these body parts warm. Hence, keep a hat on that not only covers the whole head but also closes down onto your ears, therefore allowing for better heat retention.
Wear waterproof gloves and even more water-resistant shoes. The instant you feel wetness seeping in your body – it’s time to go back home and try again another day.
Equip with Safety Gears, Including Sunscreen
Yes – you still need sunscreen during the winter season. The UV rays aren’t as harsh but the ice reflects ultraviolet rays, thereby still leaving you with a sunburn if exposed long enough. As for safety gears – this includes room temperature water and lights.
If you’re working out in the dark, opt for bright or reflective colors so you can be easily seen. Wear special snow shoes that will give you traction while running or walking.
Learn the Signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia
Know your limits and inform yourself on the early signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Typically, frostbite has these early symptoms:
• Prickling feeling of the skin
• Reddish, bluish-white, or white colored skin
• Clumsiness or stiff muscles
Hypothermia has these signs:
• Excessive shivering
• Lack of coordination
• Slurred speech
The minute you notice any of these, head back home and gradually introduce warmth to your body. Ideally, you would be exercising somewhere familiar where you can easily seek help or go back home if needed.
Go With a Buddy
Having an outdoor workout buddy can add to the safety of your exercise, no matter the weather. They can call for help, assist with problems, and essentially make sure that you’re OK during a run.
If you’re the lone-wolf kind however, at the very least, make sure people know where you’re going before you walk out the door.
The weather shouldn’t stop you from keeping fit and healthy. With the right approach, the cold season can be your friend and ally as you pursue your physical fitness goals.
If you prefer to work out at home, there is an article I wrote last time about why exercising at home can be better than going to the gym.