Trainer Tip Tuesday: Cold Weather Considerations for Physical Activity

Just because the temperature is dropping doesn’t mean we need to stop exercising outside. When participating in physical activity in the cold, avoid skin contact with the environment, wear the appropriate layers, and stay hydrated.

Avoid Frostbite and Hypothermia

For starters, it is not recommended to exercise at temperatures below 0° F or at temperatures with extreme wind chill.

  • Avoid frostbite by reducing exposed skin contact with the environment.
  • Avoid touching metal objects and snow with your bare hands.
  • If your appendages become numb, warm them up immediately in a warm area
  • Stay dry!


Wearing an excess amount of clothing in cold weather while exercising can cause hypothermia or heat stroke. Dress in layers so that you can remove clothing as you warm up.

  • Avoid wearing cotton clothing as your base layer, the layer that touches your skin. Cotton absorbs moisture and holds it in for long periods of time. In cold temperatures, this moisture can freeze and cause hypothermia or frostbite.
  • The base layer should be a water-wicking material, such as polyester. It spreads out the moisture and dries quickly from your body’s temperature.
  • The next layer should be a warming layer such as wool or cotton. Ensure this layer does not get wet!
  • The waterproof layer should be a polyurethane laminate, such as Gore-Tex type of fabric.

Stay Hydrated

Finally, even though it is cold your body still needs to be hydrated. Drinking water in the cold is challenging, although very beneficial.

  • Your body loses moisture in the cold in the same way as it does during warm temperatures through respiration, urination, perspiration, and everyday bodily functions.
  • It is recommended that you drink 8-10 glasses of water daily.
  • Make a point to drink a certain amount of water by a set time, rather than drinking to thirst.

To conclude, ensure you avoid the cold temps, layer correctly and stay hydrated as much as possible. Enjoy the outdoors and stay warm.