Some people love to run no matter the season, even cold weather, and that is OK as long as you take proper precautions, a physical therapist says.
“It’s up to the runner. As long as he or she is healthy, wearing appropriate attire and highly visible, the cold doesn’t have to deter you from being outside,” said Grace “Annie” Neurohr. She’s a therapist and running specialist at Sinai Hospital’s Rubin Institute Running Injury Program, in Baltimore.
But, if it’s icy, stay inside and use the treadmill, she advised.
When you do run outside in the cold, wear the proper clothing and layer it.
“A good base layer is crucial,” Neurohr said in a news release from LifeBridge Health. “A wool or wool hybrid base layer will wick away moisture while maintaining warm body temperature.”
A warm hat is important for maintaining core temperature “since the majority of our heat is lost through our heads,” Neurohr said.
Gloves are also essential. “Since the majority of your blood is getting pumped to your larger muscles, your hands need a little extra help staying warm,” she explained.
Before heading out, warm up for five to 10 minutes to reduce the risk of muscle strains or joint pain.
“A dynamic warm-up typically will consist of various types of skips, high knees, walking lunges, inchworms and leg swings, so typically larger full-range-of-motion movements at a slightly quick speed,” Neurohr said.
And don’t forget to hydrate.
“You may not need the amount of electrolytes or total water intake as you do when it’s hot out, but you should still be taking in an adequate water intake,” Neurohr said. How much varies based on your size and the intensity, length and frequency of your workouts.
If you run when it’s dark, wear bright, reflective gear. “No matter what, don’t assume a driver can see you,” Neurohr said. “Always make eye contact and demonstrate communication with a nod or wave with the driver before crossing in front of a car.”
The American Osteopathic Association offers tips for being active in the cold.