Staying active always seems easier in the warmer months; there are tons of activities to do outdoors to exercise and get moving, and the weather is much more inviting. Exercise is very important to commit to year round; it can help to manage your weight and stress, and can actually increase your energy. A benefit of winter workouts is a boost to your immune system. Studies show that people who exercise regularly get 20 to 30 percent fewer colds than those who don’t exercise.

Preparation is key- the cold weather doesn’t seem so cold if you are dressed appropriately! Some brands even have an entire line of clothing specifically designed to keep you warm while participating in activities taking place in colder temperatures. Dress warm in the cold weather to avoid potential injuries such as frost bite and hypothermia. Frost bite can also occur if your body is dehydrated. Cold air has a drying effect which can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your activities!

In the summer and winter alike, proper footwear is vital for staying comfortable during activity. Selecting a new running shoe, for example, is dependent on many factors: past experience, current problems, biomechanical needs, environmental factors, and running requirements all play a role in what kind of shoe is going to be best for your feet. Going to a shoe store that specializes in running and other athletic shoes can help you find the right shoe. They there are trained to analyze your feet and fit you with the shoes that will give you the most support and comfort. They will look at the arch of your foot, your foot flexibility and take measurements of your feet. It is recommended to replace your running shoes after running between 350 and 550 miles. Not replacing your shoes regularly can result in lack of support and stability as the shoe wears down and can lead to injuries. The right pair of shoes can make all the difference.

When shopping for any type of shoe, the American Podiatric Medical Association recommends the three-step test:

  • The shoe should bend where your foot bends naturally, at the ball of the foot.
  • The shoe should not twist from side to side.
  • Squeeze the back of the heel to ensure that it will firmly hold the heel.

Choosing a sock is just as important as choosing your shoe. Socks sit directly between your foot and shoe and are supposed to wick away sweat. On a 5 mile run, your feet can produce enough sweat to fill an 8 ounce glass. About half of that sweat is absorbed by your shoe and sock. Wearing proper socks can help to protect your feet from blisters and irritation. A running shoe store can also recommend the right type of sock for your activity.

Consider trying out a new activity this winter, perhaps even enjoying a walk on a snowy trail.

Sources: American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, American Podiatric Medical Association, Washington and Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Centers.