How to be safe in the cold weather
POSTED: Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 5:15pm
UPDATED: Sunday, March 2, 2014 - 5:17pm
El Paso — Today, I took part in the 5k run for the Race for the Cure event.
Not only is race for a good cause, but it also helps me stay in shape. But today as a cool front swept through the region, we ran in the chilly weather.
If you recall, we have done previous blogs on the effects cold weather could have on an individual when it comes down to catching the cold.
And as we may have debunked some old myths and reaffirmed others, today we will talk about how to stay safe from extreme cold circumstances.
Did you know: Cold weather forces the body to keep itself warm to prevent the internal organs from getting cold.
If the organs do get cold, the body has difficulty functioning and this can eventually lead to loss of consciousness.
Therefore the cold weather boosts our metabolism, producing more heat and energy for use by our cells.
Our metabolism can be temporarily boosted by as much as one fifth when we engage in outdoor recreation for a couple of hours in sub-zero conditions, according to a website called Well-Being Lounge.
By producing heat, the body makes use of energy obtained from food intake and from the body’s brown and white fat.
According to one doctor, Timo Partonen, Chief Physician at the National Institute for Health and Welfare, an overweight person will stay warm more easily, due in part to a thicker ‘insulating layer’, but this doesn’t apply to the extremities, the toes and fingers.
So how should you dress in the cold weather?
The familiar rule is: wear loose layers, so that the air between them acts as insulation.
If you wear clothes that are too tight, that will allow heat to escape.
At the same time, if you wear too many clothes, that will make you sweat.
The idea here is to prevent heat loss, and in both circumstances that is what is happening.
So what about excersising in the cold weather.
Today we were only in the upper 40's and lower 50's when the race began, but in other areas where the temperatures are below freezing, can you still practice sports?
According to the Well-Being Lounge, winter sports are generally safe if you don’t spend too long outdoors at any one time.
Anyone with heart problems should reframe from practicing any kind of extreme sports in very cold weather.
The cold weather can cause the heart muscle to suffer from oxygen deficiency very readily, and this can lead to arrhythmia.
Everyone knows that when the winds pick up, the windchill can become a problem.
Windy conditions are the worst enemy when exercising outdoors in winter, as the wind considerably enhances the effect of the cold.
The heartbeat slows and the heart has to work harder to get enough oxygen to function effectively.
Lastly, have you ever wondered why it is that we gain so much extra weight in the winter time?
Yes, it's partly due to the holidays during this season but also, because sleep quality is poorer in winter,.
Not only that but many of us get less exercise.
So factor in that we eat more during the cold weather, we excersice less, and we don't sleep well.
This is exactly why I hate the wintery weather...