Exercise has benefits all year, even during winter. But before you brave the cold, make sure you take a few extra steps to stay safe. It’s important to remember that children, those with illnesses, and older adults are at higher risk of cold-weather health problems including hypothermia, a dangerous drop in body temperature. No matter what cold-weather outdoor activities you do, follow these tips to stay safe:
- Check the weather forecast. If it’s very windy or cold, consider exercising inside.
- Watch out for snow and icy sidewalks.
- Warm up muscles first by walking or light arm pumping before you go out.
- Wear several layers of loose clothing. The layers will trap warm air between them.
- Wear a waterproof coat or jacket if it’s snowy or rainy.
- Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves.
Know the Signs of Hypothermia
If you or a loved one must go outside in cold weather, be sure to watch for signs of hypothermia:
- Cold feet and hands
- swollen face
- pale skin
- slurring words
- acting sleepy
- being confused or angry.
Be on the lookout for later signs of hypothermia:
- moving slowly
- trouble walking
- slow heartbeat
- shallow breathing
- blacking out
Call 911 right away if you think someone might have hypothermia! Get the person inside, make sure their clothing is dry, and wrap them in a warm blanket.