Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: How to Safely Exercise in the Winter

Cold weather exercise
Cold weather exercise
Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 3:36 AM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The winter months bring cooler temperatures, and they shouldn’t be ignored when it comes to exercising. There are important steps you can take to keep yourself safe and healthy while exercising outdoors.

“The colder weather brings on changes and as we exercise and adapt to that temperature we need to be careful so we don’t get too cold or too hot,” said Dr. Thomas Weber with the Sentara Sports Medicine Center.

Dr. Weber recommends several key things to ensure athletes of all ages stay safe during winter exercise. First on the list…hydration.

“About 16 ounces per hours of exercise are still recommended,” noted Dr. Weber. “We don’t have that natural inclination to drink more like we do when it’s hot out but our body still loses just as much fluid with the excessive respiration and fluid loss from our lungs when we run or bike or even walk outside during these cooler temperatures.”

Second…pay attention to the clothes you wear.

“We like light-weight nylon fabrics that are able to whisk away moisture from our skin. Cotton products are not good because after we sweat and get wet, if they hold that water it cools our body down too quickly so we like quick dry fabrics,” said Dr. Weber.

Dr. Weber also says to make sure your head, ears, fingers and toes are covered to prevent frostbite.

Finally, once done with your workout, take time to refuel.

“We recommend highly trying to eat something, a carbohydrate or protein load within 30 minutes after exercise to allow those muscles that have been broken down during exercise to be rebuilt and not take our natural stores.”

For more information on this topic or Dr. Weber, please call 1-800-SENTARA.

If you have a question about your health you’d like answered, email

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