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Exercise safely in the cold

Photo: Sladic/iStockphoto

The thought of stepping outside into brisk winter air might deter even the most dedicated of outdoor fitness seekers. But cold-weather workouts can be safe if you know how to protect yourself.

The Mayo Clinic has tips for exercising in the cold:

  • Dress in layers that you can take off as you start to sweat.
  • Wear a thin pair of glove liners made of a wicking material under a pair of heavier gloves or mittens lined with wool or fleece.
  • Wear a hat to protect your head or headband to protect your ears. If it’s very cold outside, use a scarf or ski mask to cover your face.
  • Buy shoes with good traction so you don’t slip and fall.
  • Wear reflective clothing, especially if you’re exercising outdoors in the dark.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Take breaks often to hydrate.
  • Know that “stop-and-go activities,” such as mixing walking with running, can make you more vulnerable to the cold if you repeatedly work up a sweat and then get cold again.
  • Get out of the cold if you think you’re experiencing frostbite, which occurs most commonly on exposed cheeks, noses and ears. The clinic says early warning signs are numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation on the area. Return home and slowly warm (but don’t rub) the affected area.

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