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The most dedicated runner I know is my husband. The neighbors and I all admire him (as we look out our windows in the warmth of our homes). Even in the sub-zero degree weather we’ve been having here in upstate New York, he is out there getting his ‘Run On.’
Yesterday, I read an online article from Time entitled, “Polar Vortex Is No Excuse to Skip Outdoor Exercise.” Michael Bracko, a Canadian exercise physiologist (and an American College of Sports Medicine fellow), shared how he has no problem running outdoors when it’s 30 degrees below zero. According to Bracko,
As far as the temperature goes, if you are just warm enough and you are used to exercising, there is no temperature you can’t work out in.
There are potential dangers when it comes to exercising in the cold. People with heart conditions and those with poor circulation can aggravate their blood flow problems in the cold. Asthma patients can suffer an attack from the cold air dehydrating their airway. Frostbite can occur in vulnerable body parts like the tips of fingers and toes, your nose, and your earlobes. According to Bracko, it’s actually unusual to develop frostbite while working out in the cold because you’re moving, and heating up the body. Doctors will recommend indoor activities, however, for people with health conditions.
If you are a healthy runner like my hubby and Michael Bracko, here are a few tips to keep your feet moving through the freezing temperature.
- Put On Double Socks. Go for a synthetic sock against your skin to help wick moisture away from the feet. Your outer sock can be synthetic or wool for extra warmth. Stay away from cotton socks which can keep your feet wet.
- Protect Feet From Wind. The wind chill adds to the potential danger in the cold. A simple tip is to place plastic wrap (or a plastic sandwich bag) on top of the feet. This can help block the wind from coming through the shoe without causing the foot to sweat underneath (plus, this is thin enough to wear with thick socks and is easily disposable).
- Wear The Right Shoes. You may need to go a half size larger to accommodate double or thicker socks. Make sure the sole has good traction to grip a snowy ground. Look for a pair that has less mesh fabric to help keep feet warmer.
- Warm Up The Feet Beforehand. Try running in place for a few minutes indoors before heading out. Even outside, before running, move the feet inside your shoes or march in place.
- Be Aware of Frostbite. It only takes a few minutes in 20 degree weather to get frostbite. If your feet get wet, return indoors immediately and change your socks. Seek medical care if you experience numbness, pain, discolored skin, or blistering.
It is important to keep exercising. If you decide to go out in the freezing cold, like hubby and Michael Bracko, be safe…stay warm…and then get your RUN ON!