Winter activities like sledding, skiing, and ice skating are arguably the most fun parts of the cold season. Outdoor adventures are also a great way to stay active during the winter, combining family fun with healthy exercise.
When it comes to getting the most out of your winter fun, it's important to follow some basic cold weather safety tips. Staying safe in the winter requires protection from wind burns, dry skin, sun exposure, and freezing temperatures. The elements can be especially harsh during the cold months, so follow these winter safety tips to err on the side of caution.
Winter Safety Tips to Follow
If you spend a lot of time outdoors during the winter, here are the best winter safety tips to stay warm, protect your skin, and feel your best.
1. Dress in Warm Layers
Before stepping foot outside in the winter, don't forget to bundle up. From head to toe, dress in layers to keep warm and protect your exposed skin from wind burns. This means gearing up with windbreakers, insulation layers, socks, gloves, hats, scarves, and so on. With this approach, you can shed and add layers as needed to avoid both overheating and being cold. For extra warmth, add a layer of thermals under your winter clothes. Don't forget sturdy shoes or boots to keep the snow out and prevent slipping on icy surfaces.
2. Stay Hydrated
Decreased thirst in the winter increases the risk of dehydration. It is vital to stay hydrated in the winter, especially if you participate in outdoor activities and winter-friendly exercise, as you can still lose water to perspiration even if you don't feel hot. To combat winter dehydration, carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times and make a conscious effort to drink more water. Pro tip? Adopt a diet rich in hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables.
3. Moisturize the Body, Hands, and Lips
Preventing dry skin in winter calls for thick moisturizers and balms. This will soothe dry, cracked skin and chapped lips. When you return from a day out in the snow, apply a rich hand lotion, preferably one that is formulated with ceramides to revive rough hands. A broad-spectrum SPF lip balm not only moisturizes chapped lips, but also protects them from sunburns. Finally, opt for a thick body crème, which offers more moisture and nourishment than a traditional body lotion.
4. Wear Sun Protection
There is a misconception that you only need sunscreen in the summer. Although the sun is more intense in the warmer months, it's still putting out the same harmful rays as always. And seeing as air pollution is heightened in winter and ultraviolet (UV) rays can bounce off snow and ice, skin protection is as important as ever. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before heading out on any winter adventures or errands to minimize sun exposure and prevent sunburns.
5. Avoid Winter Hazards and Injuries
Winter isn't always a wonderland. Aggressive winter weather conditions can lead to injuries if winter safety measures aren't accounted for. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that winter storms and cold temperatures can lead to power outages, stranded vehicles, carbon monoxide poisoning, and more. If you live in a place that experiences intense winters, the CDC recommends preparing ahead of time with emergency supplies and winter-proofing your home and vehicles.
Healthy habits that are important year-round—like drinking plenty of water, staying active, and caring for your skin—can become more challenging in the winter. Accounting for cold weather safety will help you survive the coldest time of year and have a little fun while you're at it.