Running puts significant pressure on the body. In extreme weather conditions, running becomes even more of a challenge. This is true in extremely warm weather, where the risk for heat stroke and dehydration is enhanced, as well as during the cold winter months. Unfortunately, many people overlook the potential hazards of running in cold weather and end up facing severe health hazards when they set out for their daily run.
That being said, you shouldn’t let the cold weather hamper your love for running. Maintaining motivation to get out of bed and head outside in the cold is tough to do throughout the long winter months. Adding in the discomfort of taking on the cold weather inappropriately will only make it that much more difficult to keep up your healthy habits.
This winter, stay smart to stay fit. Here are five simple tricks to run safely, even as the cold weather persists:
1. Wear the right clothing. When you go running in cold weather, you want to make sure you are wearing light layers that are moisture wicking and provide you with both protection from the cold and breathing room as your body starts to heat up. Clothes that are too tight or too heavy can make your run more burdensome and may actually make you more likely to experience fatigue, and even injury.
2. Accessorize appropriately. When you head out for a run in the cold weather, don’t forget to wear your hat and gloves. There are plenty of running accessories designed for the cold weather, including items that will protect your hands, neck and toes from the harsh cold weather, such as moisture-wicking gloves and cold-weather running socks.
3. Cover your head. Your body will lose about 40 percent of its body heat through your head alone. There are plenty of running hats out there that are designed to stay in place as you move. Wearing a cold-weather hat, such as a beanie, will help prevent heat loss from your body.
4. Pay extra attention to hydration. When it is hot out, you naturally want to drink more water. In cold weather, you can get just as dehydrated, yet you may be less likely to drink water every day because you don’t feel hot. If you need to, set reminders to get in your appropriate ounces.
5. Wear your sunscreen. The summer sun makes you think about your suntan, but the sun can burn you just as bad during the winter months. If you have exposed skin, remember to cover it with sunscreen and to take the same skin care practices into account that you do throughout the rest of the year.
Staying healthy throughout the winter comes down to making the right choices day after day. Wearing the right attire, staying hydrated and keeping up with healthy dietary choices can help you keep up with your running routine throughout the long winter months.