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 humidity.
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
fluid loss. Research has shown that trainers do not drink as much as they
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
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
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 24 December 2013