February can be one of the coldest months of the year in some areas of the country, but if you are an avid runner that doesn’t stop you from getting your daily run in. In fact, running outside in the winter can be good for your emotional health. Going outside and getting your body moving can help improve your mood and increase your energy level. Make sure you keep these safety tips in mind though while running in cold weather.
Layers, layers, layers: When running in cold weather it is so important that you keep your body warm. This being said, you don't want to wear your big heavy coat and cotton sweatshirt. Wear thin layers made out of material that wick away moisture. Stay away from cotton since it keeps the moisture in and will keep you wet, which can lead to hypothermia. Also, invest in a good running jacket made out of Gore-tex or nylon to protect your body from the cold wind and rain. Running vests are also a great option for keeping your core warm.
Keep your hands and feet protected: When it is cold outside our blood is being pumped to the more important organs in our body, which means our feet and hands get a little neglected. Make sure to wear good running gloves that wick away moisture. If it is really cold outside put disposable hand warmers in your gloves to keep them extra toasty.
For your feet wear a lightweight running sock that wicks off moisture and layer it with a good wool sock. If you do this, make sure your shoes provide enough room for the bulky socks.
Keep your head covered: About 40% of body heat is lost through your head. Keeping your head warm will help keep the rest of your body warm as well. There are a lot of great varieties of running hats and beanies, so make sure you have one!
Stay Hydrated: We often don’t associate cold weather with dehydration, but you are still sweating and losing fluid. Also, cold weather has a drying effect that can increase dehydration so make sure you are drinking plenty of water or a sports drink before and after your run. If it is a long run, keep a water pack on you and drink as you go.
Keeping your body protected from the elements is so important for a safe and healthy run. If you have any running question be sure to ask Dr. Evan Merrill at your next visit. He is definitely familiar with running in the cold. At Southern Oregon Foot and Ankle LLC we are interested in your overall health as well as your foot health. If you need to make an appointment call 541-776-3338 or fill out our online form.