Don't Let Winter Scare You!

Good morning and happy Saturday! I am looking forward to today’s Race Against Racism and then birthday dinner with my friends! With snow appearing in our area on Thursday evening, I declared Friday to officially be winter. The wind just chilled you to the bone and I hated being outside for even a few seconds. However, there are quite a few races during the winter and I enjoy being outdoors. So I thought I would remind everyone about being prepared for winter workouts.

“Two things you need to watch for during the winter are frostbite and hypothermia.

Frostbite describes the freezing of superficial tissues of the face, ears, fingers and toes. Signs and Symptoms of Frostbite:

  • Pain
  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Skin turns hard and white
  • Skin starts to peel or get blisters
  • Skin starts to itch
  • Skin gets firm, shiny, and grayish-yellow

Frostbite Treatment

To help a frostbite victim, get the person to a warm, dry place and remove constrictive clothing. Raise affected areas and apply warm, moist compresses to these areas. Do not rub frostbitten areas or apply direct heat.

Hypothermia is a more severe response to cold exposure that is defined as a significant drop in body core temperature. Signs and Symptoms of Hypothermia:

  • Shivering
  • Cold sensation, goose bumps, confusion, numbness
  • Intense shivering, lack of coordination, sluggishness
  • Violent shivering, difficulty speaking, mental confusion, stumbling, depression
  • Muscle stiffness, slurred speech and trouble seeing
  • Unconsiousness

Hypothermia Treatment

At the first sign of hypothermia take the person to a dry, warm place or warm the victim with blankets, extra dry clothing or your own body heat.”


So, how do you prevent frostbite and hypothermia? Here are a few tips depending on the length of time you plan on being outside and/or the temps in your area:

  • Consider wearing two pairs of heavy socks. Keep your feet and your toes warm.
  • Earmuffs or a headband AND a hat. Up to 50% of your body heat can be lost through you head – it needs to be covered. In heavy wind and cold your entire face should be covered (I have a problem with this one.)
  • GLOVES! I have taken to wearing my Agloves (that can be used on my iphone and garmin) under fingerless fleece gloves. You might want to stick some hand warmers in your gloves for extra warmth.
  • Layer clothing. Sometimes I wear a sports bra, a cami, a long sleeve tshirt, and then a heavy fleece pullover. For bottoms you may need tights and sweats.
  • Stay hydrated but avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Stay DRY. Running/walking through an area that might have puddles? Leave extra shoes and socks in your car.

I remember last January I volunteered at a 10 mile race working a water station. Despite two pairs of gloves AND hand warmers, my hands were getting wet with all of the water and colder every minute. I am quite sure I experienced either frostbite or hypothermia by the end of the race. I couldn’t feel my fingers for over an hour after the race. Lessons learned: make sure to have plenty of extra supplies in the car.

Here is a great quiz from Runner’s World on what to wear depending on temps, wind, conditions, etc.

So, now you are prepared to walk/run in these frigid temps. Enjoy your workout!

Today’s talking point: What do you wear in freezing temps?

No Responses to “Don't Let Winter Scare You!”

    • Glenneth

      Thanks Tina! I have some fleece fingerless gloves that rock.