THE CASE AGAINST HIBERNATION
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I find that not being willing to be out of doors in the winter is a rather strange position to take in that every four years the world celebrates an event called the Winter Olympics. If I remember correctly these are not held in an semi tropical environments. Living in Minnesota if I feared the cold I would end up looking like Jabba the Hut having just hibernated for several months.
Man has survived and functioned in the cold for millennia by adapting to the conditions, witness the adaptations made by Ice Age Man who was found in a glacier in Switzerland. With proper planning and preparation training out of doors in the winter can add an entire new dimension to our worlds. We have to dress appropriately. Avoid over dressing and modify our workouts for the conditions. Cold weather injuries are more frequently the result of physical inactivity in the cold or improper clothing than of the temperature itself.
Some years ago the Norwegian Army did a study on the body’s ability to adapt to the cold. The findings were that over time exposure to cold reduces the need for heavy layers of clothing if the individual is active. This does not however mean that you can safely play nude volleyball out of doors after marking the area out using coal dust to contrast with the snow. (You Tube video to go viral here?)
The key to dressing for winter running, cross country skiing, cycling or snow shoeing is to be slightly chilled before you begin the activity. As you workout and increase you body heat you can open your garments to dissipate the heat build up. Think of a chimney, heat rises so venting from the top down is the key. Wear hydrophobic layers closest to the skin to wick away the perspiration, avoid anything cotton it will trap moisture and get heavy. Add a fleece pullover as the next layer Tights are an excellent choice but some runners will wear pantyhose when it is too cold for bare legs but not cold enough for tights. A nylon anorak as a windbreaker for the upper body is your outer layer Nylon wind pants for the lower body are optional. Mittens or socks on the hands are all you need to keep your hands warm. Mittens are warmer than gloves. For cycling to keep your feet warm there are neoprene booties you can purchase to keep your feet from frostbite. An acrylic watch camp or balaklava for head gear, the acrylic is less weight and less prone to soaking up the sweat.
For areas of exposed skin Vaseline™ will work but a product such as WarmSkin™ is more skin friendly.
Try to plan your route to go into the wind outbound and with the wind inbound. These are a few of the ways which you can use to make your winter outdoor training a reality. You will be working harder to cover the distance than in the summer but the joys of outdoor training are magnified by the changed season.