Our third + fourth monthly healthy tips by Be Well + Chamber of Commerce is back to help you with winter exercise. Enjoy our new series to help kick-start your health!

Tips on Winter Exercise

Many Jackson locals find themselves out in the elements year-round. While most know how to properly outfit themselves for the elected sport, we’ve consulted with one of St. John’s Physical Therapists, Nola Peacock, for this month’s tip around safe methods for exercising in colder temperatures. Take a look at some of the recommendations Nola has made to help keep our activity sustainable for an especially long winter season this year:

Walk, run, and play with confidence: When it comes to the proper footwear, ideally it is warm, waterproof, and has excellent traction.

* Materials to look for include: water-resistant leather uppers that breathe, rubber outsoles, sealed seams, and a removable synthetic liner with a gusseted tongue.

* Go with grip. Some winter boots and running shoes have metal studs built into the sole to protect against slipping on the ice. Adjustable traction cleats with metal spikes or studs that fit over your existing shoes are another great way to improve your footing in slick conditions.

Keep the warmth in and the moisture out: Dressing in layers is the key to enjoying the cold temperatures for a longer period of time.

* Layering with the right materials allows our bodies to quickly adjust to varying temperatures. A good base layer is lightweight and made of a synthetic material such as polypropylene, which draws moisture away from your skin. A middle layer like wool or fleece will keep you insulated. An outer layer that is water-resistant and breathable will let moisture out while keeping you dry from the outside elements. During breaks, add a down jacket to keep the snow out & retain the heat you have generated from exercise. As you begin to move again, remove a layer before you start to sweat.

* In addition, a warm hat, gloves, mittens, scarf, hand warmers or buff can add to your comfort in the great outdoors.

Make your workout safe: Remembering to prep for ice, slush, and even sunshine can help minimize our chances for injury or skin-damage.

* If walking is your go-to for winter fitness, trekking poles are a great addition. Poles can improve your stability on icy surfaces and, by adding arm activity, they can increase the intensity of your workout.

* A headlamp is a great way to see and be seen while walking in the early mornings or late evenings. Or, add a taillight if you choose to ride a bike for your winter workout.

* Don’t forget sun protection. The sun’s rays are just as damaging in the winter as they are in the summer. In addition, your exposure to ultraviolet radiation may be amplified if your skin is exposed on a sunny day by reflection from snow. Water-resistant sunscreen is a good choice to protect you when you sweat or are out in the rain and snow.

* Always over-prepare. If your weekend exercise includes a trip into the backcountry, it’s always smart to pack extra water, food, and layers. Along with packing, make sure to let a friend or family member know where you are going ahead of time & when you will be back. Look into investing in a watch or alternative device that can send an alert signal if you get stuck in a spot with no service.

* Check the weather! This is a simple but easy-to-forget step before exercising. Make sure to review the forecast before leaving your house for the day.

Personal Items to consider: The various lists above cover some of the essentials while exercising but we have also put together a list of personal items, activity-dependent, which you can choose to bring along.

* First aid kit

* Shovel

* Probe and/or Beacon

* Emergency blanket

* Two-way radio

* Lip balm

* Neck gaiter

* Sunglasses

* Extra gloves

* Water proof matches

* Down sleeping bag

Nola Peacock, PT, DSc, is a physical therapist, a board-certified geriatric clinical specialist, and a wellness specialist at St. John’s Medical Center.

February + March’s Wellness Tip is brought to you by Be Well Jackson Hole, a collaboration between St. John’s Wellness Department and the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. For information, questions or to make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian/ Certified Wellness Coach, please contact Torrie Gold, St. John’s Wellness Assistant, at vgold@tetonhospital.org or 307-739-7242.