AVOID THE WINTER BLUES, STAY HEALTHY,
AND DO IT ALL SAFELY!
by: Rob Little, BA Hon Kinesiology, CCAA Research Assistant
- Cold weather tends to increase blood clotting, decrease blood
vessel diameter, and is associated with an increased risk of heart attack. So
take the proper precautions and remember that exercising to become healthier
will decrease these risks significantly!
- Remember to warm-up well before exercising and cool down
after. For example, walk at an easy pace for about 10 minutes before increasing
to a more challenging pace, and walk another 10 minutes at an easy pace at
the end of your session as well.
- Most of your body’s heat loss will come from your head and
neck, so a wool hat and a scarf will work wonders! The scarf will also warm the
air you breathe in and add moisture to it, which will reduce the chances of
pesky throat irritation.
- Thermion, Thermax, Thinsulate, and other
polypropylene-based synthetic fabrics are the best materials to wear as your
base layer. These will allow your sweat to transfer to your other clothing
layers to keep it off of your skin and prevent cooling. Cotton clothing is not
ideal for base layer.
- Mittens are a great idea as they allow the heat from the
hands to circulate around the fingers.
to most cold researchers, damp, or cold weather does not increase your risk of
catching a cold. People with colds tend to stay indoors, as do most people
during the cold winter months, and this simply increases the contact between
people and thus the chances of spreading a cold.
who exercise report fewer colds than their inactive peers and moderate exercise
has been shown to cause several positive changes in the immune system. But most
of these are fairly temporary, so regular
exercise is key!
your hands regularly, have sanitizer handy, and avoid close contact with those
is one of the most common reasons for hospitalization in people over 65
years old, and as you age your body becomes less effective at telling you when
if you don’t feel thirsty, you should regularly drink water.
DON’T THINK YOU’RE FIT FOR EXERCISE?
to your doctor! It can be quite reassuring to have that personal and
professional confirmation that you are ready to get active. Don’t be shy about
voicing any of your concerns! One of
the greatest deterrents to getting active is uncertainty about both what you can do and what you should do.
to see what counts as “exercise” check out the Centers for Disease Control and
WHAT EXERCISES CAN I DO?
outdoor activity in the extreme cold (follow wind-chill advisories in the
in local malls, join a health club or indoor sports league (remember, fun
exercise doesn’t feel like exercise!).
weights and exercise bands are great if you have access to them.
Go enjoy the season!
For a detailed scientific
look at the ability of older adults to cope with cold temperatures (and
temperature regulation in general), see here.
Cold weather and
information on the flu (influenza) visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s