Does dehydration occur?
It most certainly does and can prove one of the biggest problems when exercising in cold weather because most don't feel as thirsty when it's cold, and end up drinking less. The cold actually inhibits the thirst sensation. Blood moves away from the extremities and into the body's core. Since the fluid level in the central body doesn't drop, the kidneys don't get the signal to conserve fluid. The thirst response decreases by about 40 percent.
Can lungs freeze in extreme cold?
Nope. People in cold climates used to avoid running outside in the winter, but freezing lungs are a myth, according to Blair Gorsuch at the CardioPulmonary Rehabilitation Center at Proctor Hospital in Peoria, Ill. The body naturally warms air before it enters the lungs.
Does colder weather make you burn more fat?
Not really ... sorry. A Sports Medicine study in 1991 found that "the combination of exercise and cold exposure does not ... enhance metabolism of fats." In fact, some bodily processes involved in fat metabolism slow down in cold temperatures. That slowdown might be because blood vessels in peripheral fatty tissues constrict when it's cold outside. The heart rate is usually lower in cold weather exercise, too.
Do exercisers catch fewer colds?
As a matter of fact they do. A study reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine proved after tracking about 1,000 American adults for 12 weeks, they determined regular aerobic exercise might cut the risk of catching a cold or other upper respiratory infection nearly in half. According to the study, people who exercised at least five times a week had up to 46 percent fewer sick days than those who exercised only one day a week or less.
Does cold increase heart attacks?
More heart attacks occur in cold weather than in warm weather. In fact, with each drop of 1 degree Celsius, about 200 extra people have a heart attack within 28 days, according to a study in the British Medical Journal. Researchers say that's because very cold temperatures cause an increase in blood pressure — and a better chance for blood clots. So for those of you with high blood pressure, exercise indoors.
What should you eat to exercise in the cold?
When it gets cold, your body temperature drops. To stay warm, you need to generate heat. Eat complex carbohydrates two hours before you exercise. Warm foods like soup, whole wheat pasta and baked potatoes are good, but sometimes inconvenient. Other suggestions? Peanut butter, whole wheat bread, whole grain cereal, lean meat or low-fat cheese. During long periods of exercise, eat small amounts at frequent intervals. If you don't replace the energy you're consuming, you'll get tired and chilled more easily.
More tips for exercising in the cold:
1. Layer it: Resist the temptation to bundle up like Nanook of the North. Exercise generates heat, and if you start to sweat, you'll get cold when that sweat dries. Instead, dress in layers. Start with a thin synthetic layer to wick sweat. Avoid cotton. Pull on a wool or fleece layer next, and top it off with a waterproof, breathable outer layer. If it's really cold, you might want a face mask or scarf to warm air before you breathe it in.
2. Protect your extremities: Chilly temperatures mean your body protects its vital organs. Blood flow to your hands and feet is diminished. Wear gloves and warm socks.
3. Avoid frostbite: If temperatures drop below zero degrees or the wind chill is extreme, exercise outdoors can become unsafe. Exposed skin is prone to frostbite. Consider exercising indoors instead.
4. Choose the right gear: If it's dark when you exercise outside, wear reflective clothing. Wear shoes with enough traction to stop falls on ice or snow. Wear a helmet during snow sports and while cycling.