• Policy for Outdoor Physical Education Classes

    Learning to exercise in a variety of weather conditions is a part of the curriculum; it is the student’s responsibility to dress appropriately for the weather during outside activities.  The guidelines below are designed to assist students in dressing appropriately for outdoor activity and assist staff in determining when outdoor activities are appropriate. 

    North Allegheny School District Guidelines

    • All Physical Education Teachers in a particular building must be consistent in decisions regarding inside or outside classes. 
    • Decisions may change as the weather changes from period to period during a day.
    • During indoor activity units students must be notified of any lessons planned for outside.
    • A student’s failure to dress appropriately for the weather will result in their having to stay indoors and lose their participation points for the day as they will not be able to meet that day’s objective.


    • Students should stay indoors during any heavy rain. 
    • If the rain is just a mist or light enough so that the students are not wet for their next period class then they may be outside. 
    • Consideration will be taken regarding wet ground and mud but students shoes may get wet and they should bring an old pair for use on rain days.


    • Students may be required to go outside in cold temperatures when given notice to be properly dressed. 
    • During periods of high winds the wind chill factor should be taken into consideration. 
    • During cold weather outdoor activities students will move indoors as soon as the activity is completed.  (Students should not be sitting out in the cold.)


    • Students with medical restrictions must still dress for class and will be required to perform an alternate safe activity. (Ex.  A student returning from an illness may ride the stationary bike inside at an easy pace to maintain cardiovascular conditioning.)   If a student misses three or more classes or needs adaptations for a prolonged period of time a doctor’s excuse is required. 
    • Students who are excused from all types of physical activity may be required to complete a short written assignment during class.

    Advanced Physical Education Classes:  

    • Students in this course will be required to participate in more extreme conditions as their training levels allow for.

    Recommended Tips

    Dressing for Cold / Wet Weather Exercise

    Avoid heavy, bulky garments

    Unless your doctor has advised against it, there's usually no reason why you can't continue your favorite outdoor activity year-round, provided the weather isn't extreme.

    In winters past, the standard advice was to bundle up with cotton long underwear, a thick scarf, a heavy parka, and so on. Today, winter sports and fitness enthusiasts know that a layered system of high-tech, lightweight fabric is more comfortable.

    "Layering helps you hold onto your body heat and prevents the retention of perspiration on your skin," says Edward Laskowski, M.D., co-director of the Sports Medicine Center at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. "The idea is to have layers that you can easily put on or take off as conditions change. Many winter fabrics are now lightweight and so compressible that you can carry them easily in a small backpack, fanny pack or pouch."

    How should you prepare yourself for an outing on a cold, wet and windy day? Dr. Laskowski has some tips to make the most of your layers:

    ·                     Layer 1. Closest to your skin, wear a thin layer of synthetic microfibers such as polypropylene to wick sweat away from your body. Look for long underwear products and turtlenecks that feature this wicking action. Avoid cotton, which absorbs and holds moisture close to your body.

    ·                     Layer 2. This is your insulation layer. Try synthetic fleece — a lightweight, quick-drying material that provides good insulation. A front zipper on your insulating layer allows you to release excess body heat and perspiration. Fleece can be treated to be water-resistant, and it may be sufficient alone as your outer layer when it's not too cold.

    ·                     Layer 3. This is your shell, your front-line defense against the elements. You want it to be as windproof and waterproof as possible. If the day gets warmer, you can always take off this outermost layer. There has been a steady advance of technology for wind- and waterproof fabrics, the best known of which is Gore-Tex. In extreme cold, a windproof shell with goose down lining provides excellent retention of body heat without weighing you down.

    ·                     Hands and feet. Your hands and feet — the farthest points from your heart and the least insulated — are highly vulnerable to cold. Wool or polypropylene socks are a good choice for insulation and wicking moisture from your feet. Remember: If your boots are too tight or you have too many layers of socks, this can reduce circulation and make your toes even colder. All-climate shoes are available for winter jogging or hiking. These shoes have a water-resistant outer covering and soles that provide traction and stability. In extreme cold, use gloves or mittens that employ the same three-layer system described above. Polypropylene glove liners are a relatively inexpensive accessory that may help keep your hands drier and warmer inside your gloves or mittens. In general, mittens are warmer than gloves because they retain more heat around your fingers.

    ·                     Neck and head. You lose a lot of body heat if your head is exposed to the elements. Again, you'll appreciate something like wool or fleece that wicks away perspiration from your head. Cover your ears. Some skiers favor a fleece head sock (balaclava), which covers your whole head and neck and provides openings only for breathing and vision. Face masks that cover your nose and mouth also are helpful for protecting your face on cold, windy days, and they keep the air that you breathe warmer and more humid. Goggles or wraparound sunglasses will protect your eyes from both wind and ultraviolet radiation. Wear sunscreen, especially at high altitudes. Look for a lip balm that contains sunscreen.

    How Cold Is Too Cold?

    Under most conditions, it will not be too cold to exercise outdoors, provided proper clothing is worn.  However, there are some instances where the temperature will be such that exercising outdoors will be ill advised.  The thermometer is not always the best way to judge if it is safe to exercise outdoors.  The best way to determine "cold" is with the wind chill index.  Because wind exacerbates heat loss, it can have a substantial cooling effect on the body.  Individuals who plan to exercise outdoors during winter weather should always consult the wind chill index to ensure that it is safe for outside activities.  As a rule of thumb, any wind chill temperature of less than minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit should be viewed with caution; a wind chill of less than minus 70 degrees is potentially dangerous.

     Exercising with a Cold

    Research published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) indicates that moderate exercise during a rhinovirus-caused cold does not appear to affect symptom severity or duration. Although it is known that moderate exercise may decrease the risk of acquiring an upper-respiratory infection.

    The authors reiterated a useful model for exercising during a cold. If symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing or scratchy throat exist (so-called "above-the-neck" symptoms), it is probably safe for an individual to exercise at a lower intensity. If these symptoms recede in the first few minutes of exercise, intensity may be increased accordingly. Exercise is not, however, recommended for individuals experiencing "below-the-neck" symptoms of a cold, such as fever, sore muscles or joints, vomiting or diarrhea, or a productive cough. Persons with such symptoms are urged to allow the illness to run its course and resume physical activity when the cold is gone. The results of this study allow us to conclude that "above-the-neck" symptom sufferers will not experience prolongation or exacerbation of their illness if they do moderate-intensity exercise

    The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. ACSM has more than 18,000 International, National and Regional Members dedicated to promoting and integrating scientific research, education, and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance physical performance, fitness, health, and quality of life.

    Exercising with Asthma or Exercise Induced Asthma
    Despite the fact that asthma may be brought on by aerobic activity, exercise may still be a desirable option for many asthmatics. Research indicates that as tolerance for physical exertion is built up over time, it is less likely that an asthmatic will experience an attack during exercise. And, in addition to reducing the risk of developing many other diseases, appropriate exercise can help asthmatics reduce stress, sleep better and feel more energized.

    It might surprise you to know that even world-class athletes, such as Olympic gold medalist Jackie-Joyner Kersee, continue to compete after being diagnosed with asthma.

    Have a thorough medical evaluation and obtain your doctor's permission before beginning any type of exercise program. This is an absolutely essential first step. Your physician may prescribe medications that might further aid in controlling your condition. You will need specific instructions on when to take the medication before exercising and how long the effects will last.

    Once you have received clearance from your doctor to begin an exercise program, consider the following guidelines:

    Take extra time to warm up before exercising. A prolonged period of low-level aerobic activity will help prepare your body for higher-intensity exercise.

    Exercise toward the lower end of your target heart rate. Exercises such as walking or swimming are great for asthmatics because they are low intensity and may be done for longer periods of time. Those who wish to participate in higher-intensity exercise, such as running or fast-paced sports, should slowly increase intensity over time.

    Rest when necessary and listen to what your body is telling you. Strength-training exercises are unlikely to cause an asthma attack if you rest between sets.

    Avoid exercising in polluted environments, or in cold or dry air.

    Don't rush through your cool down; extending it can help prevent the asthma attacks that occur immediately following an exercise session. A warm bath or shower may also help.

    Asthma does not necessarily mean you have to live an inactive life. Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for both your health and your overall well-being. As long as you and your physician are comfortable with your level of activity, nothing should keep you from doing the activities that keep you happy and healthy.


    Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise® is the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine

    Study: "Effects of a rhinovirus-caused upper respiratory illness on pulmonary function test and exercise responses," Thomas G. Weidner, Beth N. Anderson, Leonard A. Kaminsky, Elliott C. Dick, and Terry Schurr, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise®, May 1997, Vol. 29, No. 5.

     American College of Sports Medicine Fit Society Page, winter edition 2001

     American Council on Exercise, Fit Facts, Exercising in the Cold

     Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), All rights reserved.  "MayoClinic.com"