As a general rule, there is nothing wrong with exercising outdoors during the cold winter months. In fact, spending time outside and exposing yourself to natural light can be a great way to improve your mental health during a stressful and dreary time of year. However, there are days when it may be in your best interest to simply stay inside and watch the snowfall or listen to the wind howl.
Do You Have Any Medical Conditions?
If you have medical conditions such as heart disease or asthma, it is a good idea to consult with your doctor prior to exercising in cold weather. This is because a condition such as heart disease may make it harder to obtain proper blood flow to your hands or feet. Ultimately, these parts of your body may have trouble staying sufficiently warm even if you cover them. It is important to note that cold air is typically drier than warm air, which increases your risk for an asthma attack or other breathing issues while engaging in strenuous activity.
Wind Can Make Air Feel Colder on Your Skin
On windy days, you will notice that the air feels much colder than the actual temperature. This is because the moving air will cool a surface faster than when it is not moving at all. Therefore, if strong winds are in the forecast, it might be a good idea to skip the outdoor run and spend time on the treadmill instead. Otherwise, you could put yourself at a higher risk of frostbite even if you’re outdoors for just a few minutes.
Cold Temperatures on Their Own Won’t Harm You
As long as you cover your head, hands, and feet, there is no reason why you can’t go outside regardless of what the actual air temperature is. Assuming that you don’t have any underlying health issues, you won’t harm your lungs by breathing in cold or dry air. Furthermore, a runny nose is generally not an indication of a cold of any other long-term health issues. Instead, it is a byproduct of your nose turning dry air into humid air as you breathe it in.
If you feel the need to exercise outdoors, you can generally do so safely regardless of how cold it gets. As long as you are adequately covered and take other precautions as needed, you can feel good about keeping up with your fitness routine throughout the year.