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Keeping safe while working out during the winter

Many people enjoy spending time running and exercising outdoors, even during the winter months, but as the temperatures get colder it is important that people prepare for their winter workouts.

Dickinson Parks and Recreation will host a Jingle Bell 5K run/walk on Saturday, Dec. 2, at the West River Community Center. Check-in is from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m., with the race starting at 10:30 a.m. If people register the day of the race they can still receive a T-shirt, but they will be ordered next week.

"We are doing a holiday spirit prize for the person that kind of dresses up the best in their Christmas spirit," said Alissa Karsky, program supervisor.

While temperatures are expected to be around 49 degrees on Saturday, those looking to get their workouts outdoors this winter should be cautious.

James Kramer, director of Dickinson Parks and Recreation, said his department sweeps and maintains the outdoor path around the West River Community Center, Rocky Butte Park, Eagles Park and Gress Complex during the winter.

"We do the best we can to keep the snow off so that people still have the ability to go out and run," Kramer said.

The Mayo Clinic says it is important to stay safe while exercising in cold weather. It recommends that people with certain conditions, such as asthma, heart problems or Raynaud's disease, check with their doctor first to review special precautions based on condition or medications they are taking.

The Mayo Clinic also recommends that people check weather conditions and wind chill before heading outside. Wind chill extremes can make exercising outdoors unsafe even with warm clothing. Runners and those exercising outside during the winter should dress in layers and make sure they are not dressing too warmly.

Runners should dress in layers that can be removed as soon as they start to sweat and then put back on as needed. First, put on a thin layer of synthetic material, such as polypropylene, which draws sweat away from the body, the Mayo Clinic recommends. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to the skin. Next, add a layer of fleece or wool for insulation and then top it off with a waterproof, breathable outer layer.

If the temperature dips below zero or if the wind chill is extreme, the Mayo Clinic recommends taking a break or choosing an indoor exercise instead.

The West River Community Center has an indoor track, as well as a variety of workout equipment, for people to use during the winter if they do not want to brave the cold temperatures, Kramer said.

Sydney Mook

Sydney Mook has been covering higher education at the Grand Forks Herald since May 2018. She previously served as the multimedia editor and cops, courts and health reporter at the Dickinson Press from January 2016 to May 2018.  She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science in three and half years in December 2015. While at the USD, she worked for the campus newspaper, The Volante, as well as the television news show, Coyote News. She also interned at South Dakota Public Broadcasting and spent the summer before her senior year interning in Fort Knox for the ROTC Cadet Summer Training program. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys cheering on the New York Yankees and the Kentucky Wildcats, as well as playing golf. If you've got an idea for a video be sure to give her a call!

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