Summer’s heat and humidity are gone and winter’s icy chill lies ahead. But for now, you can enjoy a rousing workout in the crisp, clean air amid the gorgeous colors of the autumn landscape. As a bonus, you’ll boost your immune system. In fact, because fall weather increases your susceptibility to the flu, colds, and other seasonal ailments, exercise is one of the best ways to keep the immune system strong. So why not bundle up and get moving?
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you can exercise safely in most cold-weather environments if you manage three factors: 1) overexposure to cold temperatures; 2) wind chill levels, and; 3) moisture.
What to Wear
Wear a windbreaker-style jacket. Layer your clothes so you can remove one piece at a time as you start to sweat. Wear gloves if you tend to get cold hands, a thick scarf for your neck, and a winter-style cap for your head and ears. If your face tends to get too chilled, consider wearing a ski-style mask or a scarf over your nose and mouth. Because the quickest way to lose body heat is to get wet, choose breathable materials (nylon, polyester, rayon, polypropylene, or merino wool), which are better than fleece or wool because they don’t retain nearly as much moisture as you start to sweat. Of course, wear socks thick enough to keep your feet warm, as well as athletic shoes that fit comfortably and offer good arch support.
Check the Wind Chill
According to the National Weather Service, wind chill describes how cold air feels to the human skin due to the combination of cold temperature and wind blowing on exposed skin. Because wind takes away body heat—like blowing on a hot bowl of soup—it can bring your body temperature down, and make you feel a lot colder than what the thermometer outside says. A modest breeze can cause a 32º F day to feel like 20º F. Here’s a handy calculator that will keep you prepared before you venture out: https://www.weather.gov/epz/wxcalc_windchill
Head Into the Wind
If you are walking, jogging, or cycling in a loop, start by facing the wind. Because you are the sweatiest on your way back and therefore have a greater risk of losing body heat, you don’t want to be fighting the wind chill as well. And the wind at your back can help push you forward.
Outdoor Exercises that Make Fall Fun
Depending on your level of fitness, where you live, and what floats your boat, find some beautiful surroundings and go walking, hiking, jogging, rollerblading, or biking. Plus, outdoor bootcamps may be available in your neighborhood if you relish the idea of getting your butt kicked. Kayaking, water rafting, canoeing, and sailing are invigorating for thrill seekers, and outdoor sports like baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, badminton, and volleyball are truly fun with family and friends. And, how about raking those leaves, pulling weeds, or laying out sod? Maybe not as fun, but these too, will definitely burn calories. When you make any outdoor activity a family affair, you can create memories that last a lifetime.
- Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine
- For outdoor workouts: Check the temperature, especially the windchill factor
- Stay hydrated – dehydration is as much of a risk in cold weather as when it’s hot
- Start with a 10-minute warm-up (running in place, Jumping Jacks, dancing)
- Moisturize your skin
- Overhead triceps stretch
- Upper back stretch
- Hamstring stretch
- Calf stretch
- Quadriceps stretch
- Hip and thigh stretch
See www.newcastlesportsinjury.co.uk for description