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How to Stay Active, Fit and Safe During the Coldest Winter Months

January 15, 2020

Despite the January thaw we recently experienced, the winter weather is here to stay.  But don’t let the cold keep you from getting out to enjoy the outdoors. The Hartford HealthCare Sports Medicine team reminds you that with a little planning and preparation, it’s easy to stay active during the winter months.

Some of the more popular aerobic outside winter weather options include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, walking and hiking. “Aerobic” simply refers to any activity that increases your heart rate over a long period of time. After the initial cost of the right equipment for some of these activities, but once purchased, you’re good to go.

You can enjoy these activities in parks, reservoirs and conservation areas — just make sure to follow instructions on any posted signs. As with all outside sports, it’s also important to follow these safety tips:

  • Make sure you have all of the associated safety equipment, including a helmet, pads, reflective clothing and eye protection.
  • Layer your clothing to protect yourself from the elements. Your inner layer should have moisture wicking properties and your outermost layer should be water and windproof. Remember protection for your head, face, neck, and hands.
  • Keep a small snack and some water with you at all times.

For personal safety:

  • Let others know your timeframe and/or route and consider carrying flares
  • Carry a cell phone
  • Carry identification, emergency contacts, and any pertinent medical information (“dog tag,” medical alert bracelet)
  • Use sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB, even on cloudy days in the winter.

If any of these activities are a new sport for you, do some preliminary physical training and make sure your participation is gradual. Consider working with an athletic trainer or strength and conditioning specialist to maximize the benefit.

Remember, staying active is important, no matter what the weather may bring!

For more information on how to active and healthy, please visit mysportshealth.org