Keep Moving During the Winter Months
Each year the Arthritis Foundation hosts their nationwide Jingle Bell Run/Walk to benefit arthritis sufferers. This event is held in cities across America throughout the month of November as a way to kick off the holidays and raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation. Individuals can race on their own or form teams with family, friends, or co-workers. Each walk/run is a 5K (approximately 3.1 miles), so it is manageable for most people to complete, no matter their fitness level.
As a way to help prevent and treat arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation strategically scheduled their Jingle Bell Run each year leading up to the holiday and cold weather season to encourage everyone to keep moving during the winter months. There is no doubt that when the thermometer outside drops, it can discourage even the most avid and motivated exerciser. However, packing away all your exercise gear for months at a time can diminish all the progress you may have made with your exercise and fitness routine in warmer weather.
If you want to continue your fitness routine in the winter, here are a few tips
- • Dress in layers – one of the biggest mistakes you can make is dressing too warmly, since exercising generates a considerable amount of heat. Dressing in layers allows you to remove clothing as your body temperature rises.
- • Protect your hands, feet, and ears – when it is cold, blood flow is concentrated on your body’s core, which leaves your hands and feet vulnerable to frostbite. You can wear a thin pair of gloves under a heavier pair of gloves, then remove and replace the outer layer as your hands warm up and cool down. For your feet, consider buying exercise shoes a half-size or one size larger than usual to allow for thick thermal socks, or an extra pair of regular socks. Lastly, don’t forget a hat or headband to protect your ears.
- • Pay attention to weather conditions and wind chill – if possible, avoid exercising when it is cold and raining because when you are wet you may not be able to keep your core body temperature high enough. Wind chill extremes can make exercising outdoors unsafe even if you dress warmly because the wind can penetrate your clothes and remove the insulating layer of warm air that surrounds your body.
As always, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise routine or to see if you have any health conditions that would preclude you from exercising in cold weather.