Exercising outdoors? Baby, it’s cold outside

With people avoiding gyms due to COVID-19, doctors warn exercising in cold weather could still make you feel ill

These days, a lot of people are choosing to exercise outdoors instead of in the gym due to COVID-19. But now that it's getting colder, doctors are warning people to be careful to avoid catching a cold or other illnesses. News4jax reporter Ashley Harding joins us live from Friendship Fountain.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Even though it’s getting colder as we head into the winter months, people are still getting out, and getting active. Dr. Sunil Joshi with the Duval County Medical Society is glad to see people are still exercising.

“Your mental and physical health during this pandemic, and now with colder weather, is very, very important,” Dr. Joshi said. “It’s one thing you don’t want to lose just because it’s cold outside.”

With a lot of people choosing to exercise outdoors instead of in the gym due to COVID-19, doctors are warning people to be careful to avoid catching a cold or other illness. Dr. Joshi says because viruses do better with less humidity, they tend to spread more quickly during winter months. That’s why he says timing is crucial. He says during the summer months, he advises working out in the morning hours because it is so much cooler. But not this time of year.

“When you’re waking up in the morning and it’s 29 degrees, this is not the best time of day to be exercising,” Dr. Joshi said.

“The good thing about living in Northeast Florida, even if it’s cold in the morning, it tends to warm up in the afternoon. So, the middle of the day is probably a better time.”

If you do decide to exercise in cold temperatures, Dr. Joshi says there could be some moments where you may feel like you have breathing problems, especially when running. He says he’s advised patients to wear a scarf around their nose and mouth.

“Almost like wearing a mask,” Dr. Joshi said. “It’s almost like if you’re wearing a mask while running outdoors this time of year, it will help to humidify the air as it comes through. That, in itself, can make you feel more comfortable.”

Dr. Joshi also recommends patients not be afraid to try working out at home. Equipment can easily be ordered online including weights, kettlebells, and resistance bands. Free workouts are also available

Dr. Joshi also wants to remind people exercise can help in your long-term fight against COVID-19.

“Exercise makes you feel better mentally and physically,” Dr. Joshi said. “But it definitely does have some positive beneficial effects to your immune system as well, in terms of keeping you healthy.”

Dr. Joshi also said it’s a good time to remind people to still get their flu shots. Click here, to learn more about the #FluVaxJax campaign.

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.