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Wintertime in Harrisburg isn't necessarily mild. While low temperatures and snow flurries might keep some people from keeping a normal workout routine, you don't want to be one of them. To help you break a sweat during the cold-weather season, we've put together a list of the best safety tips and gear that will help you reach your goals. Happy trails, whether they're through the snow or not.
Check the Wind Chill
The wind chill is the way it really feels outside, considering both the speed of the wind and the temperature. The risk of frostbite is less than 5 percent when the wind chill is above 5 F, but it increases with every degree that the wind chill decreases. Despite your drive to maintain outdoor workouts, you might consider putting them on pause if the wind chill dips to zero or below.
Cover All of Your Body's Bases
You always wear lots of layers to protect your legs, arms and torso, but you might not be as thorough with the rest of your exposed skin. This winter, cover all of your extremities with weather-ready gear. Hats, gloves, thermal socks, ear muffs ... whatever it takes to keep you warm should be part of your workout wardrobe. You'll find that many athletic clothing companies make these types of accessories in lightweight fabrics that will still keep you cozy.
In hot weather, it's a no-brainer: You feel yourself sweating and your mouth is dry, so you drink plenty of water before and after you exercise. Winter might be a bit trickier to judge, since you won't feel as thirsty as usual. Therefore, to keep yourself safe when you exercise outside this winter, drink just as much water as you normally would when working out.
It's hard to strike a perfect balance of how much to wear when you work out in winter. You don't want to make yourself too warm with too many layers or thick fabrics. Keeping sweat trapped might cause you to overheat, despite the chilly temps swirling around you.
Therefore, wear clothes that you can layer on and peel off as you start breaking a sweat and getting warm. A thicker piece of outwear in performance fleece, for example, can be tied around your waist when you start to heat up. Of course, be sure that you still cover your skin to protect it from the cold, but try and shoot for thinner layers that you can easily take on and off as needed.
Watch the Roads
Finally, you probably don't think much about road conditions when you head out for a summertime workout. When winter rolls around, though, it's a different story. You might have to take icy precipitation into consideration, or perhaps standing water will turn into ice as overnight temperatures drop.
In Harrisburg, as in many other cold-winter places, the city takes care of much of the maintenance of roads and sidewalks when they're affected by the weather. However, winter workouts require you to be extra cautious each time you take a step. Keep an eye out for snow piles, ice or anything else that might cause you to slip. You could take even more risks out of the equation with a shoelace keeper so yours don't get loose and cause you to falter.
By combining caution, cold-weather gear and general knowledge of how your body should feel, you will be ready to take on the sidewalks, roads and trails this winter. Now, let's all hope that it's not too snowy this time around and you can exercise just as you would on a sunny summer day.