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How to Dress for Winter Activities

December 10, 2013 by Normand Richard, Certified Exercise Physiologist

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You've probably heard reasons why people don't like to be physically active during winter. Some folks say, "I'll get chilled", "I'll slip," "I'll catch a cold" and my favourite, "my lungs will freeze." As an old saying goes, there's no such thing as bad weather, simply inappropriate clothing.

For the West Coast, a rain-jacket is an essential item. For those living in colder parts of BC, an insulated jacket is more suitable. The number of layers underneath depends on your activity.For running, my rule is to "be bold, start cold." Start slightly cold to avoid overheating mid-way. However for low intensity activities such as a casual walk with family or friends, wearing multiple thin layers instead of one heavy layer wins. By dressing properly you'll rarely be cold and will better enjoy the outdoors.

The risk of slipping and injuries can be a concern especially for those living in the colder and snowier parts of BC. Ice cleats (mini steel spikes that strap underneath your boot for grip) are a good option to wear to avoid slipping. If you're concerned about slipping, with the holidays approaching try "cardio-shopping." When you're at the mall, park far, take the stairs instead of the escalator and walk an extra lap once you're finished. Also, mall walking groups, where people walk laps together during bad weather, are another option. This is a good excuse to leave the house, socialize with friends, and get some movement into your day.

As for freezing your lungs, I've never heard of it actually happening! However, if breathing cold air affects you or you have asthma, a neck-warmer over your mouth can humidify the air. Also, a good warm up is helpful.

For other questions about how to be active and safe in the cold give the Physical Activity Line a call for FREE at 1-877-725-1149.


Photo credit: iStockphoto

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