Winter gives you a chance to bulk up and hibernate, and this definitely will not help you to stay fit and burn calories.
Here are certain dos and don'ts by Dr Ashok Seth, Chairman and Dr. Peeyush Jain, Director and HOD, Non- invasive and preventive cardiology from Fortis Escorts Heart Institute that will help you burn those extra carbs even in this cold weather.
‘The ideal garment for outdoor exercise in winters is one which is wind resistant but permits the evaporation of the sweat from the skin.’
Drink Water before Going for a Long Walk Even in severe cold, air becomes warm by the time it reaches the airway passages. The warm breath has a high capacity to hold the moisture. This occurs at the expense of water from the respiratory passages. Thus when physical activity in cold weather is accompanied by heavy breathing. Dry airway passages may contribute to breathing difficulty during exercise in the cold. This problem may be avoided by drinking water at room temperature before going for long walks.
Avoid hot beverages and alcohol. Avoid walking outdoors after drinking hot drinks or alcohol. These beverages relax the skin blood vessels, leading to a significant loss of heat from the exposed skin, especially hands.
Avoid Outdoor Exercise in Extreme Cold Patients with heart disease should avoid outdoor exercise if the Wind Chill Index is below -10 degree Fahrenheit.
Slow Down a Little Bit Moderate exercise results in a ten-fold increase in heat production. This is enough to counter the cold stress. Strenuous activity facilitates heat loss into the environment by causing dilatation of muscle blood vessels. It also imposes an additional burden on the heart. Barring well-acclimatised athletes, people should avoid heavy exertion in very cold weather. In cold environment, it is also a good policy to alternate periods of moderate activity with periods of leisurely activity. However, complete rest between periods of activity is undesirable. It may cause pooling of the blood in the legs, leading to dizziness caused by fall in blood pressure.
Avoid Water Sports in the Winter Swimming in unheated swimming pools should be avoided. Water is a good conductor of heat. It results in an excessive heat loss, which cannot be matched by heat production by the body.
Cover Yourself Adequately All normally exposed areas - head, face, ears, and hands as well as legs and feet should be well covered. The ideal garment for outdoor exercise in winters is one which is wind resistant but permits the evaporation of the sweat from the skin. To provide insulation from the cold, the mesh of cloth fibres traps the air and warms it. Because both cloth and air are poor heat conductors, a barrier to heat loss is established. Thicker the zone of trapped air next to the skin, more effective is the insulation. A cap may hold 80 percent of body heat during winter. This is because the blood vessels on the head are unable to constrict in cold weather. Mittens, not gloves give the best protection to the hands in cold weather. Mittens don't have separate fingers, so cold air cannot circulate around each one. The fingers and the palm are crowded together in the same warm air space. Some people use tube socks as mittens because they go well up the arms. In very cold weather, some walkers wear mittens covered by socks or gloves with mittens on top.
Walk Along the Breeze If you are walking in strong breeze, either walk with it or slow down a little. You will get the same benefits that you would in a faster walk during normal weather. Toward the end, slow down for a while to allow evaporation of the sweat, and walk back home.
Prepare for the Fog Walking in the fog is similar to walking in darkness. So face the traffic as you walk. Stay close to the edge of the road. If a car seems to be bearing down on you, step off the road and stop walking. Don't wear light coloured clothes, specially white and gray. Bright red or orange clothing is better. Carry a flashlight. Know the road you are walking on. Don't look directly at the headlights of cars. They tend to blind you. It is best to walk indoors when there is smog in atmosphere.
Slow Down After Snowing After snowing, slow down your pace. If there is ice on the road, it is best to wait until later in the day when sun has melted it. Walking over packed snow significantly increases energy requirements. If it is impossible to find a clean path even later, you should walk indoors on that day. Significant amounts of water and heat can be lost from the respiratory tract, especially.