Die-hard joggers and runners love the buzz of pounding the pavement everyday in the winters, fighting off freezing cold with their own body heat and enthusiasm. Thinner colder air also adapts your lungs to adverse conditions, making them stronger.
To safely run in the winter, bundle up with the following tips.
Cold Air and Your Health
Your body is perpetually engaged in maintaining a constant temperature. So no matter how cold the air you’re inhaling, inside your lungs it’ll be at a much higher level. Which is why you won’t freeze your lungs or windpipe. You might, however feel a sensation of the cold ‘burning’ in your throat or chest, so cover up with a scarf, more so if you aren’t in good form (i.e. haven’t done regular aerobic exercise for a while). Those with chest or throat infections are advised not to run outdoors until recovery, or exposure to low temperatures and airborne bacteria will worsen your condition.
Avoid traditional Indian advice of wearing a thin itchy sweater right next to your skin. Instead, your first layer of protection for outdoor activity should be a fitted, tight fabric that keeps your skin dry. Thus, don’t wear cotton. On top of it, a long sleeve T-shirt, also skin-tight for added insulation, and a final layer resistant to both wind and water.
Above that, a slightly a looser, slightly thicker fabric which can be opened with buttons/zip at the neck. For your legs, use Lycra tights (for mobility) or fleece pants are appropriate. A hat (preferably wool), gloves and wool socks, and you’re good to go!
Acclimatize to the Cold
Winter air has less oxygen, and thus takes time to adapt to. Slowly work up the stamina on a treadmill if you are a first time-runner before heading out – that’ll be one less thing to worry about.
The human brain seem to be hardwired to avoid the cold. Mentally, you need to strengthen yourself by avoiding such thoughts, and block them out with music, or talking to friends on the phone (if you’re jogging). Slowly, you’ll get used to running in the cold. In the meantime, focus on distance, not speed, and slowly jog a bit before you warm up to a faster pace.’