How Cold Is Too Cold?

It is that time of year when many of us will want to jog, ski, and participate in other outdoor winter fun. We know when to be caution about the heat, but do we know when to be cautious about the cold?

Michael Bracko, a fellow with the American College of Sports Medicine told weather.com that if you are basically healthy and are already used to exercising outside when it is cold, there really is not a temperature that is too low – as long as you dress warmly. A beginner, on the other hand, should avoid extreme cold.

So, the next question is what is considered “extreme cold?” According to Dr. Bracko, -18 degrees Fahrenheit can lead to a rapidly increased risk of frostbite. The cold is not the only concern, but the wind needs to be considered. Individuals with asthma, heart disease and Raynaud’s disease should also consider indoor exercise during frigid temperatures.

Layers are important. The moisture wicking layer should be your bottom layer and is the most important layer. Your top layer should be a wind-blocking layer with vents to allow any sweat to evaporate away.

Gloves and socks, of course, are important as is the hat. However, a study in 2006 found that the head only accounts for about 7% of body surface area, so the old saying that we lose 90% of our heat from our head is not quite true. Therefore, a headband to keep the ears warm is enough in many cases.

Resource: Exercise Etc. Inc. 

Michelle’s ability to wear many hats has made her a valuable asset to the Y.E.S. Fitness team.

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