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Exercising in the cold weather has extra benefits — but you need to take a few precautions

Ice skating is one of many great ways to exercise outdoors -- but there are a few precautions. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

WASHINGTON — The cold weather is coming, and if you want to continue exercising outside, that means bundling up a bit. There are a lot of benefits, said Lean Plate Club™ blogger Sally Squires, but you’ll need to watch out for a few things.

The colder weather can trick you into thinking you’re more hydrated and fueled than you are, Squires told WTOP on Tuesday.

“When it’s hot outside, we think about bringing a water bottle along or making sure that we’re well-hydrated,” Squires said. “When it’s cold outside, we’re not thinking about thirst as much. And that can be a mistake, because when you exercise outside, you might think that you’re not really sweating, but you are.”

You don’t necessarily have to bring water with you when you head out to exercise unless it’s for more than an hour, “but when you come back in, you want to get hydrated and have something to help with your recovery,” Squires said. She suggested something high in protein, such as milk or cheese.

All that said, as long as you prepare and recover correctly, exercising outside in the colder weather is a great idea.

“You’re burning a lot more calories when it’s cold,” especially the more you exercise, Squires said. “The respiration is heavier,” which can lead to the loss of more water. “And if you shiver, you’re burning a lot more calories.”

Skiing — cross-country and downhill — snowboarding and ice skating are great ways to burn calories, Squires said. Research has found, for example, that a 150-pound person burns about 250 calories per 30 minutes of ice skating (and an indoor rink is cold enough to count as outside). A125-pound person burns about 475 calories playing an hour of ice hockey.

“These are activities [where] you can really go out and get your heart rate going; you can build some muscle.”


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