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Health and Safety Tips for Exercising in Cold Weather

by on January 21, 2014 10:01 AM

Those dedicated to their outdoor workouts and others following through on fitness resolutions should beware of the dangerously cold forecast for the State College area.

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory for the State College area.

The advisory will be in effect from midnight to noon Wednesday. Wind chills are expected to get as low as negative 15 late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning with wind gusts up to 25 mph. The wind chill creates a risk for frostbite and hypothermia.

Tara Shapich, a physician's assistant with Mount Nittany Physician Group Internal Medicine in Bellefonte, offered these tips for exercising in cold weather.

Do:

- Plan ahead of time. If you plan to run outdoors, choose routes that are cleared of snow and ice. Always tell a friend or family member where you're running and what time you plan to be return.

- Warm-up adequately before exercising outdoors, especially in cold weather.

- Dress appropriately. Wear moisture-wicking layers against your skin, and try a scarf or facemask if breathing in the cold air irritates your lungs. Also remember appropriate shoes. Remember your extremities. Wear gloves on your hands and a hat over your ears, as these areas are prone to frostbite in extreme temperatures.

- Grab a buddy. Just getting outside can be a challenge, but with a buddy, you're more likely to stick to your workout plan.

- Be flexible with your workout time. In the harsh winter months, you may need to wait until the warmest part of the day to exercise outdoors, even if you prefer exercising in the morning.

- Stay visible when outdoors. With shorter days in the winter, make sure to wear reflective clothing if you workout close to dawn or dusk.

Don't:

- Don't spend too long on your cool-down outdoors. Instead, go inside to stretch.

- Don't forget to stay hydrated. Even though you may not sweat as much or feel as thirsty when the temperature drops, you still need to hydrate properly.

- Don't forget the sunscreen and sunglasses. Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can skip the SPF or eye protection, especially because snow can lead to sunburn and glares. Remember your lip balm, too!

- Don't wear cotton next to your skin, as it can retain sweat, making you colder.

- Don't forget to check the forecast before you leave the house. Rain or extreme wind chills can make outdoor exercise unsafe.

- Don't be afraid to take your exercise routine indoors, especially in subfreezing temperatures. Prolonged exposure can lead to frostbite and hypothermia.

- Don't worry so much about your pace. If you're a runner, you're likely going to be slower in the winter.

For the latest weather advisories and warnings, click HERE.

For the latest AccuWeather forecast, click HERE.

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National Weather Service Issues Wind Chill Advisory for State College Area
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by StateCollege.com Staff
National Weather Service Issues Wind Chill Advisory for State College Area
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