"By the nature of our activities, we need to carefully select and adjust the thickness and functionality of our garment to comfortably enjoy the outdoor environment."
Plan for the cold
Recreation in cold weather exposes our body to the stresses with which our body cannot always cope. To avoid any inconvenience, such as a feeling of extreme cold and moisture, attrition of the immune system, and perhaps even health conditions and injuries due to insufficient warming up, we need to be ready to tackle this as well as possible. Despite the already-mentioned warming up and protected with appropriate clothing it is also important to plan in advance in order to spend as little time as possible in cold conditions. This is how recreation will again become a real satisfaction and pleasure, which can be completely independent of external conditions.
1. Choose the right clothing
By the nature of our activities, we need to carefully select and adjust the thickness and functionality of our garment to comfortably enjoy the outdoor environment. At the same time, we need to be attentive to a satisfactory level of isolation and avoid retention of moisture in the fabric of our clothes. Several layers of correctly selected clothing enable very good isolation. It is important that the internal layers successfully transfer the moisture to the outside of the garment.
The primary consideration in choosing should be especially in the comfort during an activity that is the stage when your body is already fully warmed up. The person must therefore resist the tempting selection of the over-dressing, which can lead to excessive retention of sweat in clothing just after a few minutes of movement. It is better to start as ‘cooler’ than continue and finish as ‘too hot’. Too many layers of clothing quickly lead to overheating, which requires the unnecessary undressing and explosion of the overheated body to harsh weather factors. Too much sweat within the garment often destroys even the good qualities of underwear and we quickly get cold.
2. Start in the opposite direction of the wind
Wind can significantly increase the overall heat loss of the body and cause its premature cooling. Recreation (such as jogging, Nordic walk, etc.) is therefore always advisable to start in the opposite direction of the wind, so with the movement against the wind and the return in the opposite direction.
In this way, we will primarily facilitate the return because we will be stopped by the wind gusts only in the first half of the workout. We will also avoid prolonged exposure to the cooling wind in the moments when our clothing will contain the maximum level of moisture – this is usually the highest in the last minutes of our training.
3. Make a warm ending
Most forms of hypothermia can develop in a very short time after the discontinuation of activities in cold outdoor conditions. Muscle heat production is significantly reduced, while the rate of heat loss remains at a high level. This is why we should end our workout by undressing into dry and suitably warm clothes or with a direct return to the warm shelter.
Another tip: After returning from a more strenuous activity our blood flow will significantly improve if we immediately conclude our practice with a shower. When we manage to withstand a few seconds under a stream of cold water and continue by adding warmer water, we will do a lot for the speed of the regeneration of our muscles. These will due to the adjustment of our peripheral vascular system quickly wash away the harmful products of our metabolism. So we will have a positive impact on reducing fatigue in the following days after a workout while strengthening the body's resistance to cold outdoor conditions at the same time.
4. Less is (often) more
Frozen, icy fingers are fortunately no longer a necessary phenomenon with which we can measure cold weather. With the quick development of science and its evidence-based protective equipment, a solution is more than simple – though not always obvious. The knowledge that a human head with a neck is one of the most important parts of blood circulation, in which a constant body temperature is the most important, the scientists have found out that in cold conditions a body loses amazing amounts of body heat through unprotected surfaces on the head.
In the case of the first stages of hypothermia in a state of spontaneous body shivering, a healthy person would normally lose from 20 to an unbelievable 55 percent of body heat that our body produces in inactivity through the unprotected surface of the head. Each loss is, of course, being transferred on other body parts, which consequently suffer at least uncomfortable and sometimes painful hypothermia. To maintain the proper temperature of our fingers, it will usually suffice to protect our head from cold and wind. With a warm hat on and with the addition of a windproof face mask, we will also be warmer in our fingers.
A common mistake that occurs in the most extreme conditions is the combination of several layers of socks in our shoes. We must be aware of the fact that the air in the empty space is one of the most effective natural insulators. A single thick sock made out from quality fabric with a customized insulating feature will in a combination with a few millimeters of empty space in the toe area make more for our comfort than two or even three thinner socks. The latest even extend our fingers all the way to the tip of our shoes. Less is in this case two times more since even the disposal of moisture excess becomes very simple for the user – a passive process, which provides a comfortable long-term activity.
The guidelines described above are the result of scientific discoveries, the development of equipment, and the experience of active individuals in the field of movement in difficult conditions. Due to the specific peculiarity and required movements, all procedures may not fully fit each individual, and in such cases, allowing free adjustment to the individual’s needs and abilities. In the case that during the movement in cold conditions you feel a distinctive sensitivity to the external temperature or the inability to move, we preventively suggest you to visit a doctor or a medical specialist or a medical institution, which will be able to solve your problems the medical professional way. However, we wish that the described tips will help you to an even greater pleasure to spend time in the untouched nature, irrespective of the place, and the sharpness of the current weather conditions.