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Winterize your fitness plan

Little changes can keep you on track in the cold

Oct. 30, 2012
 
Woman tying shoe before exercising.
Woman tying shoe before exercising. / Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

On the webThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about cold weather hazards and safety at www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/faq.asp.

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When thereís a chill in the air, itís tempting to skip your morning run or after-dinner walk. Although it requires extra motivation to work out in the winter months, itís worth the effort to stay in shape.

Here are four tips to keep you working out warmly and safely:

Dress in layers. Exercise generates lots of heat, but when you start to sweat outdoors, youíll feel chilled. Layering helps control body temperature, so you can shed or put clothes back on as needed. Start with a thin bottom layer made of a synthetic material that draws sweat away from your body (cotton will stay wet against your skin); then add a layer of fleece or wool for insulation and top with a water- and windproof outer layer.

Cover your head. You lose about 50 percent of body heat from your head alone. Hands and feet also need extra protection: When itís cold, blood flows to the center of your body to keep internal organs warm, leaving your extremities more vulnerable to frostbite. Wear thin gloves under a heavier pair, and for your feet, pull on an extra pair of regular socks or opt for the thermal kind.

Stay hydrated. You can become dehydrated in the winter, just the same as when you work out in the summer ó the only difference is that it may be harder to notice during cold weather. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workout, even if youíre not really thirsty.

Plan indoor alternatives. Donít let rain, snow or wind chills derail your routine. Instead, pop in an exercise video, opt for mall-walking, or try something new like yoga or kickboxing.

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