Runner woman in snowOutdoor exercise has a number of advantages. It offers variety and view so you don’t get as bored as you would if you used the treadmill everyday. Also the fresh air and sunshine feel great. Sometimes the very reason you head outdoors – the weather – doesn’t cooperate. When should you stay in? Read on for some tips.

Consider air quality

No, air quality is not a temperature, but it is an important consideration for outdoor fitness enthusiasts. If you have allergies, asthma or diabetes you will want to monitor pollution and pollen. Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks and if you have allergies pollen can make it tough to enjoy the outdoors.

Watch out for high temperatures

High temperatures can tax your body during outdoor exercise. Minimize the dangers of dehydration by drinking plenty of water before you head out. If you exercise more than 60 minutes switch from water to a sports drink and try to get in at least four ounces every 15 minutes. You should also scale back your level of exertion and include some rest breaks. Keep an eye on the weather forecast, too. If your local weather girl or boy predicts a heat index of 90 it is a good idea to move your workout inside. If the dog days of summer don’t deter you from heading outdoors, at least move your workout to early morning or late evening when temperatures are safer.

Watch out for low temperatures

There is something to be said for the invigorating feeling you get from exercising outside on a cold day. Still, even with the benefits of winter workouts it is important to remember the drawbacks. For example, when you exercise in below freezing temperatures you run the risk of hypothermia. If you decide to head out be sure to dress properly in warm layers. Be mindful that even though it is cold outside you will still work up a sweat. Be sure the layers closest to your skin are made of moisture wicking material. Give special attention to vulnerable parts like fingers, toes, your nose and ears. The second danger of below freezing temperatures is black ice. You may want to think about moving your workout indoors when temperatures drop to avoid risking injury from falling and frostbite. If you do decide to head outdoors take some safety precautions. Bring your cell phone along or let someone know the route you will be traveling and what time you will return. Also, choose workout gear that is designed to provide protection in extreme temperatures.

The best gauge for determining which temps to avoid is your own body. If you feel too cold or too hot, dizzy, nauseous, or have lost feeling in your fingers and toes, stop and head inside immediately. Exercise is supposed to be a pleasant activity that benefits your body. If extreme temperatures mean you are more likely to hurt than help yourself, exercise inside.