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Sports Medicine Tip: Staying Warm in Cold Weather

As the weather starts to get colder and the days shorter, it's time to make a few changes to your routine to stay comfortable, healthy, and safe while training through the winter. The first priority in cold weather is staying warm. Clothing choices and a proper warm-up prior to exercise take more careful consideration than they normally do in the summer, when the only effort required to break a sweat simply involves taking a few steps outside.

In regards to clothing, layering is a very effective way to stay comfortable as your body heat rises during a run. Multiple layers of lightweight, synthetic fabrics can keep you warm and comfortable throughout a wide range of temperatures. Even adding a light windbreaker can make the coldest wind comfortable enough to keep you outside and training. Avoid cotton materials as cotton is a very poor insulation material when wet.

When the temperatures fall, joints and muscles also tend to become stiff and lose their elasticity. Don't forget to spend a few minutes warming up prior to starting out. Rather than sprinting out the door at top speed, spend a few minutes doing proper stretching and start out a little slower. This allows the body's temperature to rise and muscles to properly loosen. Walking lunges and leg swings can be very effective at quickly loosening up muscles prior to a run. Many good, dynamic stretching routines can be found online, and should include stretches for your hamstrings, hips, and calves.

The information on this site is intended to increase your awareness and understanding of specific health issues and
services at McLeod Health. It should not be used for diagnosis or as a substitute for health care by your physician.
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