Wow! Great comments, ideas, and suggestions from everyone. This is a great expansion on what I wrote in this article. It is very hard to define 'extreme cold' because there really is no set standard that fits eveyone (as one poster stated!). Other conditions such as age, weight, acclaimation levels, current fitness levels are all factors that will affect how well a person tolerates cold weather. I enjoy running outside and would think nothing about going out when the temps drop into the teens. However, I would not encourage my parents (who are in thier late 70's) or my kids (9 and 4) to go with me.
I think my point is that winter does not mean hybernating inside and abandoning your outdoor pursuits. I have too many people tell me that they were doing so well with thier walking or exercise outside "until it got cold". I know I get alot of funny looks from passing motorists sometimes when I am outside running. I guess they just couldn't imagine being outside let alone running!
As another poster pointed out, layering is key and also wearing the appropriate materials ("technical fabrics" like polyester, wicking fabric, duodry, etc...) which serve to draw perspiration away from the skin and/or serve better at holding body heat. One misnomer though, it is common to hear the myth that cold air can freeze your lungs but this is not true. The cold air may irritate your throat and lungs but your lungs cannot freeze as once air that is taken in reaches the lungs it is warmed to body temperature. It may feel like your lungs are freezing but they aren't!
If you are wondering if it is too cold, try it out but stay close to home. If you just find that you cannot get warm, go back in. That might be a good sign. Also, for all the runners and walkers, begin your route into the wind if you are going "out and back". That way the wind will be to your back on your way back. If you are a little sweaty then it won't be as cold.
Thanks for all the great comments!
- 12/27/2007 10:02:07 AM