by Alia Haley in Training Tips, image by Jo Carter

Tips to fight frostbite and hypothermia during winter runs

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Just because it is winter, does not mean that you should stop the sports that you enjoy most. As long as you are well aware of how to take care of yourself, winter jogging or running need not take a backseat. In fact, winter running is the best guarantee to shake off those wintry moods, improve your health and keep your energy level up and on the go.
Once the summer rolls in, you will have a trim and healthy body for the seaside. While indulging in your winter runs, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind though. This will help you to protect yourself from frostbites and convulsing into hypothermia.

1. Dress warm in appropriate material

Layering yourself up warmly before you go out for your runs is important, which means you need at least three layers of clothing. You can start off with the inner wear which will be a thermal wear made of polypropylene, that allows to wick moisture when you sweat. If you wear cotton, the sweat will soak up the material which will remain wet and will make you cold. If it is extremely cold outside, you need a second layer of cloth which needs to be made of synthetic fleece material. This will keep you insulated and absorb moisture as well. For the outer layer, you need a breathable nylon or Goretex material which will protect against wind and chill. However, do not overdress either as you are going to heat up during your runs.

2. Pay attention to your head, hands and feet

Much of your body sweat escapes through your head, hands and feet, so you need to keep them not only warm but dry. Cover your hands with light gloves which will wick moisture and over these you can use mittens if it’s very cold. Wear a sole liner which can wick sweat moisture and wear wool or synthetic socks. For your head, cover up with warm hat as this will prevent heat loss from your body. Cover up your neck with a scarf on a really cold day as this can also cover your mouth to warm the air you breathe in.

3. Choose your run days

Hit the treadmill on days when the temperature falls below zero or is below minus 20, since chilly winds can penetrate through and remove the insulated warm air. Choose days which are relatively free of winter snow and rain as running in such conditions can cause you hypothermia and frostbite.

4. Check for frostbites, energy level and stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is important as hypothermia is caused when your body is dehydrated. Drink plenty of water but avoid alcohol and caffeine which will only dehydrate you. Monitor yourself to ensure that you do not have frostbites on your fingers, hands and feet which will be indicated by a hard, pale and cold skin. In this case, get out of the cold immediately and warm up the affected areas. Keep a check on your energy level as well, since fatigue is another cause of hypothermia. Keep the lengths of your runs within a reasonable account.

5. Wear sun glares and stay out of wet colds

The snow glare of winter is very harmful, as it can cause snow blindness, so wear a polarized running glare for added protection. In case you get drenched with winter rain or snow, try to get to a shelter fast and get out of those wet clothes as this is a sure way of catching hypothermia.

6. Always check with your doctor

In case you have some health problems, check with your doctor first before you do winter runs.

Despite all the precautions taken, if you still happen to catch hypothermia or frostbites then seek medical attention immediately. It would be better if you take someone along for long runs so that you can check on each other health status during the runs.




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