Outdoor exercise can be invigorating and a great morale booster. But always take a few simple steps to stay safe, no matter the season.
For starters, dress for the weather. Whether it's cold or hot, that usually involves layering so you can start off warm and peel off layers as you heat up.
In warm weather, check out your local heat index. Listen for any ozone warning that it's unsafe to be outdoors before you make the decision to exercise outside.
When first working out in the heat, start with short sessions, then gradually increase length and intensity as your body adapts. As the temperature heats up over summer months, adapt exercise accordingly.
Here are some hot weather essentials:
Know the signs of heat illnesses:
In cold weather, pay attention to the wind chill index -- extremes can make exercising outdoors unsafe even if you dress warmly, with any exposed skin vulnerable to frostbite. When it's cold but tolerable, pay extra attention to protecting your extremities -- your head, hands and feet.
Cold weather essentials:
It's possible to get sunburned in winter as well as in summer, especially during snow sports at high altitudes. So year-round, wear broad-spectrum sunscreen and a lip balm with an SPF 15 or higher. Protect your eyes from glare bouncing off sand, snow or ice with glasses or goggles.
Stay well hydrated regardless of the temperature. Drink water before, during and after your workout, even if you don't feel thirsty. You can become dehydrated from sweating and other factors even in cold weather, yet may not notice it as quickly.
If you have a medical condition, check with your doctor before you head outdoors, especially in cold weather. You may need to take special precautions.
The Cleveland Clinic has additional tips for exercising safely outdoors.
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