Although we live in the Sunshine State, we still deal with several days of cold weather.

Although we live in the Sunshine State, we still deal with several days of cold weather.

When it’s cold, it can be hard for children and their parents to get a full hour of daily physical activity recommended by health officials. If families do venture out into the cold to exercise, they must dress appropriately to prevent too much heat loss.

Here are a few tips to stay safe:

•Check the weather and wind conditions before going out. Do not exercise outdoors if weather conditions are unsafe.

•Dress in layers so your body has necessary insulation and you can remove the layers when your body temperature rises. If you move steadily, your body will start generating heat, your body temperature will rise and you will sweat. By layering clothes, you can change the amount of insulation needed.

Avoid heavy cotton sweats or tightly woven material that can absorb and retain water. These materials cannot provide a layer of dry air near the skin, and they can increase the amount of heat your body loses as you exercise, making you feel colder.

•Cover your head while exercising in the cold. Heat loss from the head and neck may be as much as 50 percent of the total heat being lost by your body.

•Cover your mouth to warm the air before you breathe it, and wear a scarf or mask. Do this especially if breathing cold air causes chest pain or you are prone to upper respiratory problems.

•Stay dry. Clothing that is wet — whether from perspiration or precipitation — significantly increases loss of body heat.

•Keep your feet dry. Use fabric that will wick perspiration away from the skin. Polypropylene, wool or other fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin and retain insulating properties keep the body warm when wet.

•Stay hydrated. Dehydration affects your body’s ability to regulate body heat and increases the risk of frostbite. Fluids, especially water, are as important in cold weather as in the heat.

Thank you, Whitney Cherry, Calhoun County 4-H youth development agent, and the “Northwest District Volunteering in the Panhandle” newsletter for this information.

Haley Worley is an agent at the Okaloosa County Extension office in Crestview.