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8 Tips to Exercise Safely This Winter

December 19, 2022

As the cold weather and fewer daylight hours set in this winter, it’s time to start thinking of ways to exercise safely outdoors.

There are many ways to remain active no matter what the winter season may bring, says Liz Hutchinson, manager of athletic training services at Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network.

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8 Tips for Safe Winter Exercise

As with any exercise routine, Hutchinson reminds us that there are several precautions to avoid winter-related risks. She suggests:

  • Be visible. If you’re running in the dark, avoid wearing dark clothing. Instead, wear reflective gear.
  • Warm up. Lack of warm-up before you head out can increase risk for injury. Take five to 10 minutes and perform a dynamic warmup.
  • Hydrate. We don’t always think we’re thirsty when we’re not hot, so stay mindful about the quantity of water you drink before, during and after working out.
  • Dress in layers. Wear layers and be sure to wear proper protective gear to keep you dry and warm.
  • Set an emergency contact. Always alert a contact person to be available if you need help. Tell someone how long you expect to be out and where you’re going in case you need help.
  • Be fully charged. Bring a fully-charged phone or other alert device (smart watch) with you in case you need help.
  • Beware of snow and ice. Plowing can lead to narrowed roadways so if you’re cycling, running or walking where there is no sidewalk or the sidewalk is blocked, face traffic. You can also try to plan your route to ensure it’s safe.
  • Talk to your doctor. If you have certain health conditions, make sure you have your provider’s approval to exercise out in the cold.

“Be extra cautious when running in the winter weather and enjoy your next run,” Hutchinson says.

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Connect with the HHC Rehabilitation Network

Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network offers specialized rehabilitation services, including physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and audiology. Start here, for the future of health, no referral needed.

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