Posts Tagged ‘wick moisture’

Exercising in the Cold Weather

It is the time of year where it can be freezing-cold outside! But it is so nice to get outdoors and breathe some fresh air and enjoy some sunshine once and a while. When performing physical activity in extreme environmental conditions, such as low temperature, one needs to take special precautions to reduce any health risks.  Winter activities can include skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and even those “die-hards” will continue to participate in year-round activities such as, running, triathlons, and cycling. There are two major cold stressors: air (temperature and wind) and water. These can cause a loss of body heat that threatens the body’s homeostasis (ACSM 2010).  Possible cold-related injuries can include peripheral tissue (i.e. frostbite to the skin), cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

Here are some tips to help prevent chances of injury and make your outside activities manageable and enjoyable (ACSM 2010 and 2011):

1)      Prevention through preparation – know the length of time you want to be outside and anticipate any weather changes so you know of a route to go on if you need to return early.

2)      Layer clothing properly – use a base layer that is made from fabrics designed to wick moisture away from your skin. Do not overdress as you will start to sweat more than you think and wet clothes = cold body.

3)      Wear a scarf or mask to allow heating and humidifying of inspired cold air.

4)      A good trail running shoe and traction – maybe use a pair of yaktrax (traction enhancing devices to put on the bottom of your shoe) for slippery surfaces or even light gaiters for deeper snow will help keep the snow out of your shoes.

5)      Hydration – while drinking my feel unappealing when it’s cold outside, during workouts it is still necessary to hydrate regularly. Try filling your water bottle with lukewarm fluids to prevent them from freezing.

6)      Avoiding hypothermia and frost bite by being able to recognize signs and symptoms of these and other cold-related injuries.

The cold weather and snow can bring a winter wonderland of training possibilities for someone wanting to stay active. With preparation and knowledge, one can embrace the weather and fresh/crisp air!

Need help planning for your winter workouts? Or do you need some ideas on training for your winter activities? Contact Abbey to set up an appointment; 994-6309


1)      ACSM’s Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription; 5th ed. American College of Sports Medicine (2010).  P. 52-55.

2) “Cold Weather Training.” Fraser Quelch. Accessed 11/1/2011.