Top 10 Practical Tips for Training in the Cold
seasonal changes that bring colder weather should not stop athletes from
training and competing. Our eclectic panel of experts provide suggestions for
preparing and protecting athletes for exercise in cold weather. Eight factors
have been identified that influence the body's response to exercise in the
cold: level of aerobic fitness, skinfold thickness, gender, wind, water
immersion, body surface area to body mass (weight) ratio, breathing and
warmly- Layering is important, with the garments worn close to
the skin of a fabric that allows sweat to escape away from the skin. The
middle layer should insulate and protect from cold, windy and wet
conditions. The outer layer should be wind and waterproof and include a
zipper to allow for adjustments to weather conditions. Swimmers may want to
use "artificial" clothing such as petroleum jelly spread over the body
or certain areas of the body to help prevent heat loss. The fiber in
athletic clothing can affect performance. Those that do not absorb sweat and
allow cooling are best.
Warm-up: In cold conditions,
warm-ups need to be done as close as possible to the training start time, so
the opportunity to cool-down is not as great. Warm-ups should also be more
intense, longer in duration and done in heavier clothing.
fluid loss. Research has shown that trainers do not drink as much
should during cold conditions. Adequate fluid intake is important because
sweating and non-sweating routes of fluid loss can induce dehydration, which
can impair performance and thermoregulation. Athletes often think that they
do not need to hydrate because it is cold. They may not have as much sweat
on their body surfaces as in hot environments, but they "blow off" a
fair amount of fluid through their rapid breathing Cold air is usually
associated with dry air, thus there is an increase in respiratory water loss
during cold-air exercise, emphasizing the important role of maintaining
fluid consumption. Recent research by Seifert et al. (1998) demonstrated
that ad-lib water ingestion by elite cross-country skiers was inadequate to
minimize the disruption in fluid balance during 90 minutes of low intensity
ski training. This implies that the athlete must make a deliberate,
conscious effort to drink fluids, preferably a carbohydrate/electrolyte
beverage, on a regular schedule during the workout.
before you go out : The motor control becomes impaired
during winters, therefore one
should always stretch after a warm up to avoid fall, sprains or
injury. Remember, unaccustomed exercise such as pushing a car can
bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.
Headbands, toe covers, booties, gloves mittens,
arm and leg warmers, scarves and facemasks are
types of clothing which may be used by athletes
depending on what is appropriate for their sport.
Overexertion: Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart.
During exercise, the athlete must anticipate fatigue caused by muscle
glycogen depletion, which is a consequence of exercise and shivering.
making up for carbohydrate depletion: With vasoconstriction and
other blood flow alterations, circulating levels of free fatty acids could
be reduced, in such a case carbohydrate utilization will be increased, and
so will lactic acid production as the exercising muscle has a reduced amount
of blood and thus oxygen available to it. Because the main metabolic fuel
for shivering is carbohydrate, shivering during non-exercise periods may
promote carbohydrate depletion. As fatigue occurs during prolonged exercise
and exercise intensity is reduced, heat production will also be reduced. If
carbohydrate use occurs to such an extent that hypoglycemia results, then
the rate of shivering will be further reduced. Core temperature will drop
and hypothermia can occur. Consumption of about 250 ml of a
carbohydrate/electrolyte solution every 15-20 minutes during the exercise
bout will help. With proper precautions, people can safely exercise outdoors
at very low temperatures (-10ÞF or lower) with little risk of hypothermia.
dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body
heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat
rapidly. Fabrics with good wicking capacity can quickly become soaked,
increasing risk of hypothermia. Outerwear that can be easily removed allows
for adjustments if becoming too warm.
head covering, gloves, and socks to protect from exposure to cold dry air.
Peripheral cold injuries are caused by the freezing of tissue. Be aware of
cooling quickly during rest periods.
to keep active. Sitting in one
position for a long time will only make you feel colder.
not drink alcohol when out of doors in cold, wet weather. It
decreases stamina and mental sharpness and also causes heat loss.
Risks for cold exposure include
frostbite, hypothermia and, in some athletes, exercise-induced bronchospasm
(exercise-induced asthma) that may result from exposure to cold, dry air. To
maintain proper thermoregulation and performance, precautionary measures should
be followed as mentioned above.
Dated 09 January 2012