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Healtheuniversity > English > Diabetes College > Get Active > Safe Exercise > Exercise in Cold Weather

Exercise in Cold Weather

Take steps to exercise safely when the weather is cold.

  • Do not exercise outdoors if the temperature with wind chill is below -10°C.
  • Wear proper clothing for doing exercise in the cold, but wear your running shoes outdoors.
  • Choose a route clear of snow and ice and exercise at a slower pace to avoid falling.
  • Keep hydrated.
  • Keep your glucometer and insulin at room temperature.

Cold weather can make your exercise feel tougher.

Cold weather makes your arteries tighten. When your arteries tighten, it is harder for blood to get through to deliver oxygen to your heart and exercising muscles.

Cold weather also causes your heart rate and blood pressure to rise. High heart rates and blood pressures make your heart work too hard and put you at risk for heart problems.

Tips for Safe Exercise in Cold Weather

You may prefer to exercise outdoors even when it's cold. Follow the safety tips below.

  • Do not exercise outdoors if the temperature with wind chill is below -10°C. Your body will have to work too hard with colder temperatures.
  • Wear layers of clothing. Layers of clothing includes a hat to help keep warm. Remove a layer of clothing if you get too warm. Staying warm will make exercise feel more comfortable. It also keeps your arteries wider to let blood flow to your heart and muscles.
  • The layer of clothing next to your skin should be moisture wicking "dry-fit" material. Clothing material such as polyester or a ribbed shirt with wool/cotton blend. You will be too cold if the layer on your skin gets wet from your sweat.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a scarf. This scarf helps warm the air you breathe and keeps you warmer.
  • Wear your running shoes outdoors. Your running shoes have the best traction and are lightweight.
  • Slow down if it is windy or icy. A slower pace prevents falls.
  • Keep hydrated (drink plenty of water), even during the winter.
  • Keep your glucometer and insulin at room temperature. They will not work if they have been frozen. Insulin that has not been opened can be kept in the fridge.
  • Choose an exercise route clear of snow and ice to avoid falls.
Last Reviewed: 10/16/2016