How to Exercise Safely Outdoors: 5 Must-Read Tips

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Photo by Nathan Cowley on

There is no reason to pay for an expensive gym membership if you’re happy to exercise outdoors. If you’re eager to get fit, lose weight, or maintain a healthy lifestyle, you could explore your neighborhood or local green spaces by brisk walking, running, or cycling in the open air.

However, a hot, humid summer or frigid temperatures can pose a risk to your health and would demotivate the most passionate fitness lovers. Working out in every season comes with various risks, which is why you should read these five tips on how to exercise safely outdoors.

1. Check the Weather Forecast First

Don’t head outdoors to exercise without checking the weather forecast. Extreme temperatures, wind, and moisture can impact your health and safety when working out in the open air. Also, consider the length of time you’ll exercise outside to ensure you wear suitable clothing.

If a wind chill is expected, it’s a wise idea to exercise indoors. Strong winds can penetrate many clothing layers, and any exposed skin is at risk of frostbite. For instance, a wind chill below 18 F can cause frostbite within 30 minutes or less.

2. Dress in Layers

Exercising will generate substantial heat, and wearing thick clothing can make you feel much warmer than necessary. Dressing in layers will allow you to warm up during cold weather, and you can remove a layer when you feel too warm. 

Protect your health by wearing a thin, synthetic material first to draw sweat from the body. Layer it with either a fleece or wool garment for insulation, and then top it with a breathable, waterproof outer layer.

3. Shield Yourself from Harmful UV Rays

The sun’s UV rays can damage your health in various ways, such as causing painful sunburn, increasing your risk of skin cancer, and damaging eye health. Whenever outdoors, you must shield yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays. For instance, apply a high SPF sunscreen, use a lip balm with sunscreen, and wear sunglasses. You can even protect your vision during exercise or when relaxing outdoors by wearing UV contact lenses that deliver Class 1 UV blocking.

4. Stay Hydrated

Hydration is important when working out at any temperature. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can forgo a bottle of water because it isn’t warm outside, as your body will need to replace lost fluids due to sweating and heavy breathing. Always drink water or a sports drink before, during, and after exercise outdoors. It will prevent dehydration when working out and increase your energy levels to help you reach your fitness goals.

5. Wear Reflective Clothing in the Dark

If you’re planning to exercise in the dark, you must look for ways to keep yourself safe when outdoors. For example, wear reflective clothing to help drivers and pedestrians spot you on the road or path. If you cycle outdoors at night, add headlights and taillights to your bike. Also, wear footwear that provides enough traction to prevent falls, especially if you’re walking or running across snowy or icy footpaths.

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