The Running Doctor: Advice for cold weather exercise
As we go into the cold weather, many are asked if it is necessary to cut back on exercise in the cold weather. Exercising in cold weather can cause possible problems, such as hypothermia (below normal body temperature), frostbite, slippery footing and influenza (which may also be caused from tremendous physical demands, poor diet, and little rest). However, if proper methods are used, outdoor cold weather running can be enjoyable and invigorating.
It is advisable to eat more so that the extra fuel needed to run in the cold does not get depleted. Carbohydrates and fat are the primary food sources of energy. Therefore, it is important when running in the cold weather to eat more fruits, nuts, bread, cereal, pancakes, spaghetti and the like. I always make sure that my calf and other leg muscles are well stretched and relaxed before I start out, thereby reducing the chance of injury.
When dressing for cold weather runs, it is important to utilize the layered clothing method. This method is most efficient because air is trapped below each layer, which is an excellent insulator.
Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathons, has a practice in Darien, affiliated with Stamford Hospital and is a member of Stamford Health Medical Group-Foot & Ankle Institute.