Hibernate? No way! Here we share our tips to having fun all winter and staying fit to boot!
It’s important to dress adequately for cold weather. The best strategy is to go with the multilayer concept. This means wearing several different layers that you can then adjust according to the intensity of your physical exertions and the weather. We recommend wearing three layers of clothing: a base layer of form-fitting underwear (polyester is a good choice) that will keep your skin dry and eliminate moisture, a mid layer (polar fleece, for example) to keep you warm, and an outer layer (Gore-Tex) that will let moisture evaporate and protect you from wind and snow.
Protect your extremities
Extremities (hands, ears, head, feet, etc.) are always the first to freeze and so it’s especially important to protect them. When it’s cold, your body limits blood supply to the extremities to keep more heat in. It’s the body’s natural way to fight the cold. A tuque or hat is essential, especially since we know that we lose 40% of our body heat through the head. As for your hands, gloves are fine on cool days, but it’s preferable to wear mittens on colder days as the fingers generate more heat together than apart. When it’s very cold outside, wear a neck warmer or a hood to protect your face and warm the air before you breathe it in.
Whatever the season, it’s important to warm up before exercising as it greatly reduces the risk of injury. But it’s even more crucial to do so in winter because, as the temperature drops, muscles, tendons and ligaments need more time to warm up. So spend a little more time warming up to stay at the top of your game.
We don’t feel quite as thirsty when we practice winter sports because of the cold. Still, it’s important to drink regularly to replace the moisture lost through perspiration. Also, cold air contains less moisture than hot air, increasing the risk of dehydration. To avoid dehydration, be sure to drink water before, during and after your winter physical activities.
Even in winter, sunglasses are a must. Shiny surfaces like snow can reflect 12 times more light than necessary. In the short term, these rays can cause a temporary yet painful condition called photokeratitis, a sunburn of the surface of the ocular globe. Prolonged exposure to UV rays increases the risk of developing two more serious eye diseases: cataracts, a clouding of the lens inside the eye, and age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in Canadians over 50 years old.