Cold weather and exercise…

The winter season is just around the corner. Exercising outdoors now becomes a little trickier.

As a trained observer, it was obvious that many cyclocross racers were over dressed. I saw many red faces from head gear or tights and long sleeves. Saw the same things while coaching Cross Country running.
It was a brisk fall day. Felt cold standing there for sure. However, once intense exercise begins the internal temperature increases. It is not long before the exercise/racing itself warms the body. Yes indeed, the start line is cold, but in a cross race (or 5k, 10k) the body warms quickly and there is not an easy way to shed layers.
Having never lived in a warm climate, I have learned some hard lessons the past 20 years exercising in cold weather months. Here are just a few bullet points:
1. Dress for the race, not the start line.
2. Bring a heavy jacket for the start line and hand it off after the call up.
3. It has to be really cold to require head gear or tights. Your legs and head get warm fast.
4. When training in the cold, (running, cycling, hiking, etc) start with layers that can be peeled off and put back on easily.
5. Being cold and/or wet does not cause a viral or bacterial infection! “You are going to catch pneumonia,” is a 100% TOTAL MYTH. If getting cold made you sick, folks from Maine, Minnesota and Portland would be sick all the time. Infections are much more likely in warm indoor surroundings than outside in the cold. Infections are from infectious agents not from body temperature.
My patients ask, “Doc, should I buy a treadmill for the winter?”
I answer, “Sure, you could, but a jacket is cheaper.”
JMM