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December 17, 2018

Expert: Winter temperatures shouldn't scare you away from exercising outdoors

There are actually benefits to getting your walk, jog or run in when the weather's cold

Fitness Health News
Winter Exercise Flo Maderebner /Via

Exercising outdoors in colder temperatures offers many benefits.

Good news for those of you who like exercising outside when it’s cold.

The Harvard University-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Network said you needn’t necessarily move your program inside just because of winter temperatures.

"When it gets into the 40s and 30s, you can still enjoy your regular outside routines, like walking, running, and even cycling," according to Dr. Adam Tenforde, assistant professor of sports medicine and rehabilitation. "In colder temperatures your heart doesn't have to work as hard, you sweat less, and expend less energy, all of which means you can exercise more efficiently."

Tenforde broke down both the benefits of cold-weather exercise in a post for Harvard Medical School earlier this month.

As to the potential downsides, he noted that cold weather increases the risk of hypothermia and urged people to seek emergency care promptly should they suffer intense shivering, extreme fatigue, slurred speech or loss of coordination.

Among the suggestions on how best to equip yourself were tips ranging from wearing layers and protecting your head, hands and feet, which are most vulnerable to the cold, to applying sunscreen, staying hydrated and choosing a safe surface to run or work out in.

Also, warming up with dynamic forms of stretching – big arm circles and swings, high steps and lunges – to avert cold muscles getting strained and injured is key.

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