Fifteen below zero..... with wind chill....
That's what it was at my house this morning as I left for work. It was so cold that even the windshield wiper fluid froze in the lines.
It is wind chill that really causes dangerous situations for outdoor athletes. We've all seen the wind chill charts.... http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ddc/?n=windchill#New Notice how a slight breeze affects the skin?
However, we must also keep in mind that we, as athletes, are in motion. A bicycle might be moving at 20 mph, a skier at 30 mph and even a runner might be plodding along at six or seven mph. Add that speed to a slight ten mph breeze on the face and exposed skin can easily develop frostbite.
So, a few tips and suggestions for windy and cold days like today:
1) Gore-tex and other windproof fabrics are your friend: Windproof fabrics block the wind chill effect and allow a person to dress only for the air temp. Check out Gore membrane clothing for face and hands also!
2) Run, ski or bike INTO the breeze first: If working out in the cold then it is advisable to go into the wind first. This keeps the body from getting overheated when wind is at your back and then getting chilled when turning into the wind for the second half of the workout. In addition, energy reserves are lower in the second half of an exercise session which can contribute to getting chilled.
3) For the gentleman....: WIND BRIEFS! Running and especially skate skiing in tights exposes the nether regions to potentially grievous injury. Folks, you have never felt pain until you feel a certain part rewarming from frostnip/ bite.
Wear wind briefs.
They aren't sexy. They will feel like a plastic bag. But they WILL save you and the lad from an embarrassing trip to the emergency room.Period.
4) Work out with a friend: Have the friend check you for frostnip/ bite at regular intervals. Signs and symptoms can be found here along with basic first aid treatment... http://www.healthscout.com/ency/68/453/main.html
Stay warm and safe folks!