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Walking Walks

Safety Tips For Walking In The Cold!

If you love to walk on a daily basis don’t let the cold weather interrupt your routine. A cool brisk walk can do the body good; just be prepared and be safe and with these tips you should be able to walk all year long.

-Always check the wind chill factor; if the wind is to strong, you may want to remain inside until its a bit safer. Knowing the wind chill factor can save you from frostbite or even hypothermia; knowing those risks can help decrease your risk. Your own movement as you walk increase the wind chill. Low temperatures and high winds can cause a higher threat in cold weather. Walkers beware and know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia if you intend on walking or doing any outdoor activity in the winter months.

-Frostbite is a caused when your body starts to freeze. Frostbite occurs when the body is overexposed to the cold. Remember your hands and your feet are the easiest areas of the body to contract frostbite. Knowing these signs can help you be safe; pain followed by numbness are the first warning signs. The skin can start to turn a white or blue like color. The second stage is loss of control in the affected areas. Treat the areas quickly with proper care and warming. Get out of the cold immediately if you think you may be experiencing any signs of frostbite. Frostbitten skin should never be rubbed or massaged; doing so can cause tissue damage. Try to warm the area with intense heat, always keep your hands and feet properly covered when going outdoors in the cold for any long periods of time.

-Hypothermia is when the bodies temperature drops below the normal temperature of 98.6 degrees. The first signs of hypothermia is severe shivering, slurred speech, or difficulties walking. The second stage of hypothermia is unconsciousness; followed by cardiac arrest and then death. If you think you may be suffering from hypothermia get indoors quickly; you need to regain any lost body heat by staying warm. To rewarm the body it needs to be done gradually; you do not want to enlarge any blood vessels at the surface of the body which will cause too much blood flow to your vital organs. Medical attention is always required when you are suffering from hypothermia.

-Walking in the cold and knowing the proper precautions can help save you from frostbite or hypothermia. Remember to dress in layers; wear a hat and cover as much skin that may be exposed as possible. Prevent any over perspiration; you want to stay warm and dry. Try wearing thermal undergarments, and a light long sleeve tee, throw on a fleece jacket over top of that or try a waterproof jacket material. Avoid cotton; cotton sticks to the skin when wet and that can cause you to catch a chill. Make sure you cover your hands. Mittens are best to keep your hands warm or try a gloves lined witn fleece. You want to dress in layers because your going to want to take off or reapply clothes as needed. Invest in chemical heat pads; they are inexpensive and can help keep you warm as well as help treat hypothermia.

-Eat a hearty meal before you go out for your walk; your body will generate the calories while you walk so make sure you eat foods high in calories to help lock in your body heat. This is one time you don’t have to worry about calories. Try soups, or hot chocolate to keep the body warm.

-Other tips for walking in the cold you might want to keep mind; just because it is winter you still want to apply that sunscreen. You can still burn your skin when the rays of the sun reflect off the cold wet snow. Use chap-stick to help keep lips moist; cracking and peeling can occur when skin is exposed to cold air. Its always good to walk with a partner; a rule everyone should abide by. Do not plan on drinking any alcohol before going out walking. Alcohol can dilate the blood vessels, although you may seem under the illusion that your body is warm in fact the alcohol is pulling heat away from your body and in reality your body is getting colder. Also alcohol defuses the bodies shivering mechanism; which can help your body generate heat. If you suffer from any health problems you should always consult your physician before doing any work-out routine. Avoid weather conditions such as heavy wind and rain; if you jog in the rain make sure you keep your feet dry.

Don’t stick around the house an hibernate this winter; walk safely!