Exercise tips for winter workouts.


Baby, it's cold outside. It may look like an enticing winter wonderland from your window, but it often is a challenge to exercise when the days are short and the nights are cold. The National Athletic Trainers' Association, Dallas, Tex., has tips to help children and adults get on their feet and moving during the chilly season.

Warm up and cool down. Cold weather constricts muscles, so allow enough time for proper stretching to warm up. Cool down with stretches to keep limber and flexible. Leg, arm, and calf stretches should be held for 30 seconds each for best results.

Dress in layers. Wear layers for maximum warmth and take them off as needed. Make sure the layer closest to you is a material that will "wick" moisture from skin. Your outer layer should be wind-proof as well as water resistant. Do not forget a hat or headband and gloves to keep well insulated. Wear reflective clothing if working out in the dark.

Put your best foot forward. Make sure to wear shoes or boots that fit properly and will keep the snow and moisture from getting feet wet and cold.

Stock up on smart foods. It's easy to grab a cookie or other treat in lieu of a healthy snack alternative. Choose foods and beverages that will help fuel the body for cold weather workouts--fruit, nuts, whole grain breads, and sports drinks are the best bet.

Stick to your routine. If you enjoy running or walking during the warm weather months, there is no reason you cannot engage in these activities year-round by wearing the proper clothing.

Try a new sport. The Olympics are ready to begin, so join in on the international fun. Try something new this winter to spark your interest--snow shoeing, cross country skiing, ice skating, and even sledding are great...

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