5 tips for safe outdoor workouts


November 27, 2012

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By Betty Murray

Did you feel the cool front blow into DFW yesterday evening? Though local weathermen aren’t predicting a cold winter in North Texas, temperatures are on a slow decline. If you spent the summer and early fall months working out inside to avoid the heat, now’s the time to move your workout back outdoors.

Need some ideas or tips for safe outdoor workouts? Stretching and hydration are crucial. Here are a few other things to consider:

Don’t go solo.
Whether you’re out for a jog in the early morning or prefer working out in the evening, it is always safest and generally more fun to workout in groups. Dallas has a number of outdoor bootcamps, running groups, and even cycling and rowing clubs. Consider joining a workout club our group. If you do, you will likely be working out with a certified trainer or coach, who can help you get the most out of your workout routine. If you prefer not to workout in a large group, or can’t afford to, for safety reasons, find a friend to be your workout buddy, especially if you’re planning to exercise before the sun rises or in the evening. Workout out with others is also great for accountability to keep you on track.

Check your shoes.
If you’re moving your running routine from the treadmill to the streets, it’s a good idea to inspect your shoes, and may be a good time to buy a new pair. Having shoes that are in good shape will help protect your feet, knees and joints from injury. Luke’s Locker is a great place to be fitted with shoes to fit your specific running style and foot shape.

Stretch.
A proper warm-up is essential for any workout, indoors or out. Stretching before a hard workout allows your muscles to warm up and loosen before you begin strenuous activity. Tight, cold muscles are more prone to injury. Stretching isn’t important if you’re simply taking a walk, as a walk is all you need to gradually warm your muscles up. If you’re planning a vigorous workout, stretching beforehand is critical. Active, dynamic stretching is most beneficial as it improves blood flow to your muscles.

Hydrate.
Even though it’s cooler outside, it is just as important to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout. If you prefer long distance running or cycling, consider purchasing a CamelBak hydration pack.

Dress in layers.
The temperatures have fallen just enough that it can be chilly in the early mornings and evenings. Wear layers so you stay warm. As your body temperature rises as you exercise, you can remove your outer layers as you begin to sweat. As you cool down, simply put the outer layers back on. Avoid wearing cotton, as it keeps moisture in, close to your skin, which can keep you from staying warm.

Enjoy the fall weather while you can. Winter is just around the corner, which means back to the gym and the treadmill.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

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