We are often inclined to begin our outdoor activities during the summer. As the warm weather encourages us to venture outside, we endeavour to try new things, from watersports like wild swimming to adventures like hiking, all of which keeps us out in the open sunshine. As these activities become regular parts of our schedule, however, we then must face the challenge of continuing to enjoy them as the seasons change.
For many, the cold and wet weather means the end of their new activity. Others, however, are willing to preserve, perhaps even seeing the frigid environment as an extra challenge or new thrill. This is commendable behaviour and will more likely ensure long-term enjoyment of the outdoor activity or watersport. That is, promising that fundamental safety measures are taken.
While each activity and watersport will have its own specific considerations and equipment that must be utilised during the colder months, there are five basic tips that will ensure safety for each of those looking to sustain their endeavours during winter.
During the summer, you might have gotten used to spending all day outdoors, taking long swims in the ocean or rock climbing for hours at a time. Your body will be unable to maintain its energy or health for the same duration during colder weather, however. As such, your exposure to the outdoors should be drastically reduced as your body will begin to struggle before you notice. Wild swimming in cold water, for example, is recommended to not exceed more than a few minutes in cold temperatures.
During winter, the outdoor environment changes and your activity should change with it. If you are rock climbing, for example, precautions should be taken to ensure your surfaces are not prone to icing or mudslides, both of which pose a threat during and can occur quickly during swift climate transitions. In watersports, ice and winds, as well as tidal changes, can also be a problem, which is why it is important to check that your chosen spot for activity remains safe during colder months.
The equipment necessary for your outdoor equipment may not hold up or be as appropriate during winter. Clothing and uniforms may no longer help us to keep warm while wet during the cold and gear, such as boards and boots, tend not to offer the assured grip and resilience under the more extreme weather conditions. Ensure that you have winter-ready equipment and clothing for your outdoor activity or else you might find it more difficult, even dangerous, to enjoy yourself.
Stretching in preparation for physical activity should be standard practise as it ensures our body is limber and ready for exercise. During the winter months, however, it becomes essential. This is because our bones and muscles are more prone to damage in cold environments. This, coupled with the greater likelihood of hard falls, means that we should give ourselves the best opportunity to resist physical injury.
Our bodies can become just as dehydrated during the winter, even without realising it. We can easily assume that it is solely the sun that makes us thirsty, neglecting the physical exercise at hand. So, even during colder months, be sure to drink plenty of water before you head out, during your activity, and when you return!