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Outdoor activities in cold weather

January 2013

Exercising outdoors in cold weatherJanuary resolutions – and how many of us stepped onto the scales over Christmas and thought, right, in the New Year we will lose some weight?

Well, the New Year is here and along with cutting out all those wonderfully rich foods of the festive period, the best way to lose weight is to increase your levels of exercise.

There are a lot of myths about exercising but really anything that burns up calories is a huge benefit. Many of us over 50 and 60 don’t have the inclination to join gyms and official exercise programmes, but even just walking a little every day can make a huge difference.

But while it is easy to pop outside for a walk or a cycle ride in the warmer summer months, in the depth of winter there are all sorts of hazards, icy roads and long hours of darkness being just two.

If you are planning on doing some outdoor activities at this time of year, it really is worth taking a little time to ensure you are properly prepared.

Most of us probably haven’t thought of buying a high visibility jacket – yet what a difference to safety they can make on a dull grey day. The good thing today is that they come in all sorts of designs and sizes, and high visibility vests that simply slip over your normal outer garments can be bought online for as little as £3 or £4. Usually in bright yellow or orange, they really can be such a good investment to ensure other road users spot you in good time.

Shoes are also worth consideration. Specialist road running soles can work brilliantly in dry summer conditions but in winter you need a multi-purpose sole that can deal with a wide range of conditions – here in the UK our roads are rarely totally dry in winter. Icy conditions don’t mean you have to stay indoors all the time. You can now buy great snow grips that simply slide on over your shoes and provide extra traction for walking on snow and ice. There are various makes around now such as Yaktrax, Higear and Get-A-Grip which work well for all sized feet, are really quick and easy to attach and are really affordable.;;

Another product that can help is Spred Sole. This is made by Selleys and is an easy to apply compound which can be used to coat the soles of shoes and give extra grip.

If you are going out for a walk or jog in the depth of winter, your hands can still get very cold. Today there are numerous electric gloves for sale which work incredibly well. Usually they work with a battery operated heating system which gently circulates warmth around the hands. The batteries are hidden in special sections within the glove and, when switched on, will heat the gloves up in just a few minutes. Tip is to turn them on a few moments before going outside to ensure you hands keep warm from the very outset.

Microwavable gloves are now also available, pop them into the microwave and they will keep warm for half an hour or more.

There are also other products coming onto the market such as special palm heat packs that are non-electric, so need no batteries. They are made with a special gel that is kept liquid by inserting it in boiling water and then cooling. When you want the pack to heat up, you simply click a disc inside the gel pack which begins to crystallise the liquid. This process also heats the pack up to perhaps around 54 degrees C and the heat will last for up to two hours before the crystals turn back to liquid, when the process can be started all over again.

Getting out and about in cold weather is no longer the problem it used to be. With a little preparation and a willingness to address the new technology that is now available, winter exercise has never been easier.

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