5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Outdoor Exercise Plan Year-Round
Plan the length of your exercise routine based on what the weather is doing.
Running long distances for hours on end is great if the outdoor temperature remains mild. But in extreme weather, or in very cold or hot conditions, you’ll want to shorten the amount of time you spend exercising outside.
Exercising in extreme heat poses risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion, sun stroke, and sunburn. Protect yourself by taking the necessary precautions. Bring a supply of cool water and refill as necessary. Apply sunscreen before heading out. Refuel with potassium-rich fruits such as a banana, after a run.
If you’re out in very hot weather, give yourself a cool-down every 20 minutes or so. Sip water, wring a wet cloth out over your head or even douse yourself with the garden hose.
What about exercising when it’s extremely cold?
If you’re heading out for a walk or run, take care to protect yourself and limit your running time to 30 minutes at most. Also keep in mind that if you sweat but then hang around in damp clothing while being exposed to cold weather, you’re bound to catch a chill and that can lower your resistance to colds and flu germs. So bring a change of clean, dry clothing.
General tips for exercising outdoors:
Dress appropriately. They always say that people who run and exercise outdoors should layer up, and that makes the most sense. You can utilize materials that will wick away excess perspiration for the layer of clothing closest to the body. Then add layers for comfort and warmth.
If it gets too hot, strip down a layer or two. If you get cold, head back to your vehicle and grab your jacket or outer layer of clothing to add extra insulation.
Adjust your route.
Sometimes if it’s raining or snowing you’ll want to avoid those high and low spots where water can gather or where it may be slippery and you are likely to lose your balance. Plan your run according to what type of terrain you expect to encounter.
Stay close to civilization.
Extreme seasonal weather brings an increased chance of finding yourself in a dangerous situation. Anything can happen. That’s why it makes sense to run where people are.
Choose a spot where others go to exercise, such as a park or fitness trail.
Or if it’s night time, run through a well-lit neighborhood where people are likely to be coming and going. This way, if anything goes wrong, you can flag someone down.
Adjust your schedule to accommodate the weather.
If temperatures are expected to climb into the 90s, head out early for your morning jog to beat the heat. Or, exercise outdoors after 6:00 p.m. when the sun is lower in the sky.
If it’s freezing, target the noon to 2:00 p.m. hours as the time of day to get out there and move your body in the sunshine. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference being in the sun makes when you’re outdoors on a cold, wintry day.
A Parent’s Guide to Outdoor Safety
7 Tips to Exercising Outdoors Year-Round