Want to take your winter workout outdoors? Dress in layers that you can remove as you start to sweat and then put back on as needed. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material, such as polypropylene, which draws sweat away from your body. Next try fleece for insulation. Top this with a waterproof, breathable outer layer.
Wind chill extremes can make exercising outdoors unsafe even if you dress warmly. The wind can penetrate your clothes and remove the insulating layer of warm air that surrounds your body. If the air temperature dips well below zero F (minus 18 C), choose an indoor activity instead.
When working or exercising outside in cold weather, be alert for warning signs of frostbite: numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation. Frostbite is most common on exposed skin, such as cheeks, nose and ears, but it can also occur on hands and feet. If you think you may have frostbite, get out of the cold and slowly warm the affected area without rubbing. If numbness continues, seek emergency care.
You don't need to join a gym to be active. In fact, you don't need to leave home. Here's how to include more physical activity in your daily routine: 1. Do your chores. Vacuum vigorously. Or head outside and do some gardening. 2. Play ball. Shoot baskets in the driveway; play kickball or tag in the yard. 3. Take a walk. Or take your bike for a spin around the neighborhood.
The common cold doesn't have to keep you on the sidelines. Mild to moderate exercise is usually OK if your symptoms are all above the neck, such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat. However, if your symptoms are below the neck, such as chest congestion, a hacking cough or upset stomach, delay your workout. And don't exercise if you have a fever, fatigue, widespread muscle aches or a contagious illness.
When it comes to exercise, the "No pain, no gain" mantra is bad advice. Exercise shouldn't hurt. At most, you may feel a little muscle soreness when you do a new workout or activity. If you feel pain, dizziness, nausea or shortness of breath during exercise, stop. You may be pushing yourself too hard.
If you're new to exercise, start slow and easy. At first, walk only as far or as fast as you find comfortable. If you can walk for only a few minutes, let that be your starting point. For example, you might try short daily sessions of five to 10 minutes and slowly build up to 15 minutes twice a week. Then, over several weeks, you can gradually work your way up to 30 to 60 minutes of walking most days of the week.
When it comes to fitness, give yourself something to work toward. Start with simple goals and then progress to longer range goals. Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable. It's easy to get frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious. If you haven't exercised in a while, a short-term goal might be to walk 10 minutes five days a week. An intermediate goal might be to walk 30 minutes five times a week. A long-term goal might be to complete a 5K walk.
If you're starting a fitness program, good for you! No matter how geared up you may be, remember to take it slow. If you push yourself too hard at first, you may be forced to abandon your program because of pain or injury. It's better to start cautiously and progress slowly.
You're more likely to stick with an exercise program if you're having fun. If you're not enjoying your workouts, try something different. Join a volleyball or softball league. Take a ballroom dancing class. Trade your running shoes for a swimsuit. Remember, exercise doesn't have to be drudgery.
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