- Field Skills
- Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise to keep your body well hydrated. Cold water is the best for hydration and cooling the body, unless you need the extra calories other drinks provide. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks – these may cause you to lose more water than you take in.
- Avoid exercise during the hottest part of the day.
- Wear cool, light-colored clothing.
- Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion – dizziness, dry red skin, nausea, cramps, goose bumps, chills, confusion or incoherent speech – and stop exercising if you experience any of them.
With the right precautions, winter walking and running can be safe and fun. You may even perform better in the winter than you do in summer. Your body diverts less blood to the skin to cool you, so you can send more blood to your muscles. And your body quickly heats inhaled air, even if the temperature is below freezing.
The throat and lung irritation you sometimes feel in winter is caused by the dryness of the air, not the temperature. If you walk or run in winter, remember the following:
- Warming-up is especially important in cold weather.
- Dress in layers that can be removed as you warm up. Moisture-wicking fleece and polypropylene are ideal first layers, with a Gore-Tex® or other breathable wind shell on the outside so perspiration doesn't stay trapped, causing a chill.
- Cover extremities (ears, fingers, etc.) to prevent freezing. A wool or fleece hat, mittens and scarf work well.
- Don't wear metal jewelry. It conducts heat away rapidly and may freeze your skin.
- Avoid prolonged exposure on very cold or windy days.
- When you come in, remove wet clothing immediately to prevent chilling.
- Beware of frostbite. Frostbitten skin is cold, pale and firm or hard to the touch. Do not rub the area, because you may damage the skin tissue. Seek immediate medical attention if you are frostbitten.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Dry winter conditions can rapidly cause dehydration. Drinking warm liquids helps to warm your body.
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