Iowa Specialty Hospital

How to Stay Active When the Temperature Drops

February 8, 2023

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When cold winter weather arrives, you might feel tempted to stay cozy indoors, wrapped in your favorite blanket on the couch. However, rather than staying sedentary all winter, why not get outside and have some fun! Snow shoeing, ice skating, cross country skiing, and building a snowman are just a few activities you and your family can enjoy throughout the winter.  You may also be able to take in some beautiful landscapes at the same time.

There are also some unique advantages to exercising in the cold.  You don't have to deal with heat or humidity, and your body actually burns more calories in the cold weather. Going outside during the darker winter months can also supply you with a much-needed does of sunshine which can result in lifting your mood.

To stay safe when exercising outdoors in the winter, follow these tips:

Check Weather Conditions

Air temperatures and wind make up what is known as windchill.  Windchill is an important factor in the cold weather because it can increase your risk of getting frostbite.  Some windchills and temperatures are too unsafe for exercising outside, so always check weather conditions before heading outdoors.

Remember To Warm up

Cold weather can really tighten muscles. Start your session with some stretching as well as a five minute walk.  Go slowly at first to avoid pulling a muscle, then gradually build intesity.

Don't Forget To Hydrate

Research has shown that the body's thirst response is reduced by up to 40% when exercising in the cold, so remember to hydrate before and after any outdoor activity.

Wear Layers

Dressing in warm layers will help your body adjust as your body temperature increases during exercise.  Extremities get cold the fastest, so keep your ears, hands, and feet warm by wearing thick socks, a think winter hat, and wool or fleece lined gloves or mittens.


There are so many ways to keep moving while enjoying the winter season.  Get outdoors and see what you can accomplish!

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