Dress Properly, Stay Aware When Exercising Outdoors
As the temperatures warm up, more of us head outside to get our exercise. Walking, running or biking outside is a great option – it is convenient, cost-free and you get plenty of fresh air.
Before hitting the road this spring, here are some things to consider:
Wear layers. The temperature may be cold when you start out, but your body temperature will increase as you exercise. Dress in layers that you can easily remove so you do not become overheated. Keep sweat-wicking clothing on your inner layer and place an insulating layer on top of that. Depending on the thermometer, you may also need to wear a hat so your body does not lose heat and gloves to keep your fingers warm.
Stay visible. Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, it is darker in the morning, which means early morning runners and walkers need to take extra care to stay visible. Always wear reflective clothing and consider adding a headlamp or other light source.
Watch the terrain. Pay attention to the surface and be alert for bumps, small divots or anything that may affect your balance. Watch out for incline changes and adjust your pace as necessary.
Follow the rules of the road. Walkers and runners should go against traffic since that increases their visibility to cars and trucks. When possible, use a sidewalk. For cyclists, go with the traffic and follow the rules of road, including obeying all traffic signs.
Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water when exercising can prevent cramping, headaches and dehydration. While carrying a water bottle may not be easy when running or walking outside, consider different options such as using a belt that can hold small water bottles. If you bike, install a water bottle holder if you don’t already have one.
Pay attention to your surroundings. It is easy to get in the “zone” when exercising, but do not forget to be aware of who may be around you, whether it is other people, vehicles or bikes.
Carry identification. Accidents can happen so it is vital you can be identified if you are unconscious. Consider wearing an ID product you can wear on your wrist or attach to your shoe with your name and contact information (along with any important allergies or medical conditions.) Bikers can include their information on the inside of their helmet.
Whether you have an established exercise routine or are thinking of starting one, biking, running or walking outdoors is a great choice since you not only boost your heart rate, but you also get to spend some time in nature, which reduces stress.
Alyssa Tessaro is a licensed athletic trainer with ThedaCare Orthopedic Care and provides services to students at Princeton High School and Green Lake High School.