Exercise, Your Heart, and Winter Running Safety
We all know the exercise has a lot of benefits for our bodies. Besides helping to control weight and build a great physique, exercise also plays a big part in our overall level of cardiovascular health. This month, we’re sharing tips and tools to help you take better care of your heart. When it comes to exercise, we know that aerobic activities like running, cycling, and swimming can make a huge difference in keeping heart healthy. Here’s a closer look at what we mean:
- 7 Heart Healthy Habits (from Active.com)
- Understanding Heart Rates and Exercise (from Active.com)
- How does Exercise Affect Your Heart? (from Active.com)
Running can be a great outdoor activity to practice during American Heart Month – as long as you do so safely. Running in cold weather can be a bit tricky, but with some help from Heart Rate Monitors USA, we know it’ll be a breeze. Here’s what you can do to ensure that your run is safe and effective. Who knows? Maybe one run and you’ll be hooked as an athlete for life!
Winter Running Safety Tips
- Be sure to stay hydrated. Dehydration can happen easily in any weather and in any environment. If you’re going out for a long run, be sure to pack along a hydration backpack or a CamelBak water bottle. You’ll want to make sure that you drink before, during, and after your run. Remember – cold air can have a drying effect, which can mean faster dehydration.
- Dress in moisture wicking layers. Moisture wicking fabric can be critically important to helping you maintain a good body temperature. Too much moisture or non-breathable fabrics can mean overheating or chilling, which can A good rule to follow is to start with a base layer of a thin, synthetic fabric that wicks away moiture, like nylon or Gore-Tex. Fabrics like these are breathable but still protect you from the wind and cold. Avoid cotton, as it holds moisture. Then, add a layer of polar fleece or other clothing for insulation.
- Protect hands and feet by wearing gloves or mittens, as well as polar fleece or wool socks with a moisture-wicking liner. Disposable heat packets in your mittens can also help you keep toasty.
Pay attention to temperature, wind chill, and weather conditions. If it’s too uncomfortable or looks to be unsafe, then don’t go out. This is your best line of defense when it comes to reducing the risk of injury while running during the winter.
- Cover your head and stay warm by wearing a hat. In really cold weather, you’ll also want to wear a face mask or a scarf over your mouth to protect your face.
- Make time for a warm up and lots of stretching. Running without doing a warm up or stretching can mean a much, much higher risk of injury. Take a few minutes to do a light jog to get warmed up and then spend some time stretching all of your major muscle groups before you begin your run.
- Monitor your body and pay attention to its signals. If you feel uncomfortable, stop running. Also, take extra time to watch for frostbite in your extremities.
- Protect yourself from the sun’s rays (all year round!) by wearing sunscreen, SPF lip balm, and of course, a good pair of running sunglasses. At Heart Rate Monitors USA, we recommend a pair of Serengeti Sunglasses or Bolle Sunglasses to protect your eyes while running.