Running in cold weather generally doesn’t pose any significant health risks, but it can be dangerous if you don’t prepare properly. Wearing the proper attire, warming up before running, and staying hydrated are all crucial to staying safe while you’re running in the cold.

If you don’t take such precautions, you risk experiencing these dangers of running in the cold.

Difficulty Breathing

One of the biggest risks that athletes face when running in the cold is difficulty breathing. Extremely cold and dry air can aggravate your respiratory system and make it hard to breath, especially when you’re doing speed workouts.

Cold weather conditions may also stimulate bronchoconstriction, which induces symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. If you suffer from exercise-induced asthma or a respiratory illness, such risks are especially prevalent.

Hypothermia and Frostbite

When you spend time outdoors in extremely cold weather, hypothermia and frostbite are always present risk factors. This is because cold weather lowers your metabolic heat production and makes it harder for your body to stay at a healthy temperature.

Such risk factors are expressly prevalent if any form of precipitation—such as snow or ice—is present, which can make staying warm even more difficult. As such, you should always opt for waterproof gloves and jackets when you’re running outside in the cold.


Numbing muscle pain may seem like a benefit of running outside in cold weather, but this effect can be dangerous. When you’re exercising, it’s important to pay attention to how your body feels, especially if you’re suffering or recovering from an injury.

Pain is uncomfortable, but it serves as an important warning that you should rest. If your ability to feel such pain is numbed, you won’t be able to recognize the warning signs of potential injury flare-ups, and you may risk making an injury worse by continuing your run.


Cold weather conditions can cause surfaces to accumulate a layer of ice, which makes them more slippery. Due to the decreased traction, your risk of falling and injuring yourself self often greatly increases when the temperature drops.

To avoid getting hurt while you’re running in the cold, stick to trails that are adequately salted and that aren’t covered in a layer of snow or ice. If all nearby surfaces are too slick, it’s probably better to run inside instead.


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