Giving up exercise due to cold, frightful

Dec. 27, 2012 at 10:53 PM
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CHICAGO, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The weather outside may be frightful, but sitting by the fire may only make you look frightful if you give up exercise due to the cold, a U.S. expert says.

Kara Smith, personal trainer and group fitness coordinator at the Loyola Center for Fitness near Chicago, said staying active and healthy is important no matter what the temperature is outside.

There are a lot of great outdoor fitness activities you can only enjoy during the winter months, such as hockey or ice skating, skiing and snowshoeing, Smith said.

If exercising outside in the cold:

-- Wear a hat, scarf and gloves. Keep extremities covered to prevent frostbite.

-- Proper shoes and socks also are important. Moisture is extremely dangerous when exercising in the cold so make sure your shoes are waterproof to keep your feet dry. Also, consider wearing thermal or two pairs of socks to keep your toes warm.

-- Wear layers. Exercise will generate heat, which may make you feel too warm.

-- The first layer should be a synthetic material such as polypropylene to keep sweat off your skin. Avoid cotton since it stays wet and can cause your skin to get cold. The next layer should be fleece or wool for insulation. The top layer should be a waterproof, breathable material. Avoid heavy jackets that may cause you to overheat if exercising hard.

-- Stay hydrated. Winter is a very dry time of year so your body needs more water even when not sweating.

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