of the Month
focuses on cold weather exercise and how to prepare for it. The
American Council on Exercise put the topic out this month. If you
live in a cold part of the country like I do (Vermont) I think you'll
find this article helpful. For more info just follow the link to
ACE at the bottom of the page. Again, Best of Health. RM
In The Cold
concern for exercising in the cold is hypothermia, or too much heat
loss. When you exercise in a cold envi-ronment you must consider
one primary factor: how much heat will your body lose during exercise?
Heat loss is
controlled in two ways:
- body fat plus clothing; and
factors - temperature, wind and whether you're exercising in
the air or in the water.
Each of these
factors plays a role in the body's ability to maintain a comfortable
temperature during exercise.
people aspire to have a lean figure, people with a little more body
fat are better insulated and will lose less heat. Clothing adds
to the insulation barrier and is clearly the most important element
in performance and comfort while exercising in the cold. One study
showed that heat loss from the head alone was about 50 percent at
the freezing mark, and by simply wearing a helmet, subjects were
able to stay outside indefinitely.
generally a good insulator because it has the ability to trap air,
a poor conductor of heat. If the air trapped by the clothing cannot
conduct the heat away from the body, temperature will be maintained.
Unlike air, water is a rapid conductor of heat. Even in the coldest
of temperatures, people will sweat and risk significant heat loss.
With this in mind you want to choose clothing that can trap air
but allow sweat to pass through. By wearing clothing in layers,
you have the ability to change the amount of insulation that is
needed. Many new products can provide such a layered barrier; however,
it is important to avoid heavy cotton sweats or tightly woven material
that will absorb and maintain water. These materials cannot provide
a layer of dry air near the skin.
hands and feet warm is a common concern when exercising in the cold.
Lower temperatures cause blood to be shunted away from the hands
and feet to the center of the body to keep the internal organs warm
and protected. Superficial warming of the hands will return blood
flow to prevent tissue damage. Blood flow will not return to the
feet unless the temperature of the torso is normal or slightly higher
(.5-1.0¡ F above normal). So, to keep your feet warm you must
also keep the rest of your body warm at all times.
With The Weatherman
and wind chill factor should always be checked prior to exercising
in the cold. Data from the National Safety Council suggest little
danger to individuals with properly clothed skin exposed at 20¡
F, even with a 30 mph wind. A danger does exist for individuals
with exposed skin when the wind chill factor (combined effect of
temperature and wind) exceeds minus 20¡ F. That can be achieved
by any combination of temperatures below 20¡ F with a wind
of 40 mph and temperatures below minus 20¡ F with no wind.
If you are exercising near the danger zone for skin exposure, it
also is advisable to warm the air being inhaled by wearing a scarf
or mask over your nose and mouth.
For Exercising In The Cold
temperature and wind conditions before you go out.
head, hands and feet warm.
layers that can provide a trapped layer of dry air near the
skin (avoid cotton sweats and other similar materials).
air you are breathing if temperatures are below your comfort
level (usually around zero degrees F).
For more fitness
info go to: American
Council on Exercise
article is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice
and is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health-care
professionals. Consult your physician before beginning or making
changes in your diet, supplements or exercise program, for diagnosis
and treatment of illness and injuries, and for advice regarding
medications. Thanks. RM