January 13, 2013

Exercising in Winter

Exercising  outdoors in winter can be a huge hassle even for people who generally enjoy physical activities.

I can easily come up with 1001 reasons to stay indoors.

And then if you do go out, you have to worry about layering up.

And then if you DO  layer up, you have to worry about taking off the layers once your muscles start producing body heat.

Here are some things to keep in mind when exercising outdoors during winter season.

1. Get a water resistant wind breaker. 

Water resistance because sometimes you may run into dew or rain. In case you are caught in the rain, electronics such as mp3 players or cell phones can be stored away in the pockets without getting water-damaged.

Because am paranoid, I carry an extra little plastic bag for my mp3 player in my jacket pocket. Just in case my water resistant jacket turns out not to be water resistant after all. 

2. Layer with leggings 

I sometimes have 2 - 3 leggings on. I use leggings because if I do get hot, i can take the extras off, roll them up and stick them in the pocket of my jacket. Light luggage.

3.Choose a wicking fabric as an inner layer next to your skin.

A wicking fabric such as Nike's Dri fit and cool max moves water (sweat) away from the wet surphace areas of your skin. This happens through a process called capillary action.

Meanwhile a 100% cotton material will absorb the sweat instead of moving it away. Once wet, cotton stops serving as an insulating material. You are left wearing a wet piece of clothing next to the skin, outdoors during winter. This can lead to hypothermia; an abnormally low body temperature.

4.Wear thermal gloves, ear muffins and socks

5. Hydrate = DRINK WATER

People generally associate sunshine + heat with dehydration but fail to draw the same conclusions during cold weather. Just because our body  reacts differently during winter (less sweating and thirst sensation), does not mean we are not prone to dehydration.

Medical Conditions - Asthma + CVD

Asthma :- Cold air triggers asthma attacks because it compromises the respiratory system (nose and lungs). Make sure you carry a portable inhaler at all times during your outdoor workouts. 

I will also recommend wearing a cold weather mask to help warm the air around your nose before inhaling.
Cardiovascular Disease : - Studies and statistics have shown that there are more incidents of heart attacks during winter than any other season. 

Cold weather constricts the arteries and fosters blood clots. Constricted arteries cause an Increase in Blood Pressure. 

Your heart has to work harder, to keep the blood flowing.

Harder = Stress on the heart = can result in a heart attack. 

If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, make sure you are NOT over exercising. This include morning activities such as snow shoveling.

 And if you do feel an unusual "ache" or "pain" around the chest region, please seek medical help. Go to an emergency room or call 911. The pain will sometimes radiate from your chest to your arm feeling like a "pulled muscle"

Good luck!

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