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Do you have any tips to enhance performance while outside in the cold weather?

Do you have any tips to enhance performance while outside in the cold weather?

The weather during this time of year poses a challenge to those who practice sports or run outside for several hours.   One of the most important things to do prior to the workout is to check the weather forecast.  If you will be outside for 2 hours, find an hourly weather report online and determine the temperature and conditions both at the start of the workout and the prediction for the end of the workout.  If there is a 10-20 degree or higher difference between them, you will need to prepare with the right gear.  Typically you need to dress as if the temp is 10-20 degrees warmer than it actually is at the start of your exercise.  For example, if it is 20 degrees, dress how you would if it were 30 deg.  Then add a layer or more until you are comfortable but not too hot.  Remember that you will be working out and will increase your body temperature quickly depending on your activity.  Thin layers can be shed as you warm up, this includes sweat pants, long sleeved shirts or jackets.  Prepare for the wind by using a wind-breaker and always dress in moisture-wicking material to absorb sweat and ensure that as you begin to cool down your skin is as dry as possible.  Accessories are very important.  Gloves to protect hands and fingers, hats or headbands to protect ears, and wool socks are good options and can be removed quickly if body temperature rises.  Be aware of signs and symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia.  Frostbite occurs when a body part freezes and becomes injured.  Warning signs are numbness, tingling, loss of sensation and occur more frequently on exposed areas such as fingers, toes, and the nose and ears.  Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature dips abnormally low and can be signified by increased shivering, slurred speech, impaired coordination, and lethargy.  Commonly  cold temps combined with wind speeds up evaporation of sweat from the skin and can lower the body temperature,  resulting  in a greater danger of both of these conditions so be aware of the windchill factor when checking the weather report.   Don’t forget to hydrate as you will still sweat and lose fluids during exercise even in the cold.  Drink sports fluids and water to retain electrolytes and avoid dehydration.

Cindy Shimamoto, PT, OCS, COMT

Center Manager – Creve Coeur

SSM Physical Therapy

12382 Olive Blvd.

Creve Coeur, MO  63141

314-453-9675 (phone)

314-469-1294 (fax)

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