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Prepping for winter conditions

December 23, 2002|by KEVIN CLAPP

From Tina McNulty, owner/president of Total Fitness Specialists in Hagerstown, and Doug Lentz, director of health and fitness for Summit Health in Chambersburg, Pa., a few tips for safe winter exercise:

  • Dress in layers

    Choose a highly-breathable base layer

    In the coldest weather, wear a second layer of breathable material, such as fleece

    For an outer layer, wear thin, lightweight items that are wind resistant

  • Second and outer layers should have zippers or vents, providing ventilation control as the body warms up

  • Remember to cover the ears and head.

  • Wear mittens or gloves to protect the hands

  • Take care of the face by using moisturizer or sunscreen, particularly if there is snow on the ground that will reflect sunlight

  • Use sunglasses to protect the eyes from wind and the sun's glare off of snow

  • Run with a friend in case of accidents. An alternative is to carry a cell phone

  • For exercising in the dark ...

    Wear as much reflective gear as possible. Running shoes, many shirts and jackets include reflective strips that catch light from passing vehicles, alerting drivers to your presence

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Carry a flashlight so people see you. Lights also allow you to better see road conditions, avoiding accident-causing potholes or patches of ice

Run against the flow of traffic, so you can see oncoming cars in case they don't see you

  • Keep drinking fluids

    Another area where exercisers can become all washed up is in regards to proper hydration.

    Think about it. In warm or hot weather, sweat pours, alerting men and women to the importance of replenishing fluids. When temperatures drop, however, less attention is paid to drinking enough water.

    "When you're not hot you have a tendency to forget about thirst, and your body needs it," Lentz says.

    "People assume since it's not summer and you're not sweating a lot you don't have to drink as much," McNulty adds. "But because it's cold and dry you don't notice you're sweating."

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