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Staying Warm In Winter

Staying Warm During Your Sport In Winter

We can't very well curl up like a bear and wait for Winter to end can we?  Your life goes on regardless and the pursuit of your sporting and leisure activity will always be relentless no matter what the conditions.  It is after all.......your passion.

But the big question is: how do you stay warm whilst you're doing it?

Essentially, the trick is layering up.  The right mix of quality layers will bring its rewards without the need to look like a Walrus in the process!  Multiple thinner layers are more effective that one thick layer.

Here we have endeavoured to explain the process in "real world" terms that we can all relate to.

Consider your body as a "Virtual House".  Now in your actual house most of us have a heating system of some sorts and the boiler for this is usually inside so it's kept relatively warm as is your hot water cylinder as well. These are the primary heat sources in your house and your heat source then feeds your radiators to provide all round warmth.

In your "Virtual House" your core (the torso, vital organs and large muscle groups at the centre of your body) are your body's primary heat sources, your internal "Boiler and Hot Water Cylinder" and your extremities (your head, hands and feet) are the "Radiators"

You feed you your heat source with fuel, Gas, Oil, Electricity in your house and "Food" for your "Virtual House" and it, in conjunction with physical activity, generates heat which then warms water for your heating system and the blood in your body which in effect is the same as the hot water running around the heating pipes in your house.

You need adequate fuel to keep the boiler working and you need to ensure you keep the boiler insulated so the heat produced is retained and maximised so it works efficiently keeping your body temperature at the right level.

This is what you are seeking to achieve when layering up in winter.  A good quality Baselayer with appropriate Mid Layers and Outer Layers when required, will give you all the necessary insulation you need to keep your body's "Boiler" performing at its optimum level.

In a house of course, you don't want to stop the heat convection from the radiators because you are looking to heat the air around you for warmth.

With your "Virtual House", it's a bit different as you want to keep the heat in.  As your blood moves round the body and reaches your hands and feet the ambient temperature will cool the blood which is close to the surface of the skin at the extremities and as the blood returns to the heart on its natural journey around your body, it is cold and therefore takes more energy to warm it back up again.  As your fuel begins to run out, you produce less energy to re-heat the blood efficiently and ultimately you will get cold because you can't maintain your body heat.

If this happens a lot, the blood never reaches a good temperature and the end result is feeling cold, shivering (the body's natural reaction to trying to warm up) and potentially hypothermia in extreme cases.

If you are very active say running around a lot in football or rugby perhaps, this happens less often because the blood will move faster as the heart works harder.  This means that the blood will spend less time close to the surface of the skin and is therefore less susceptible to cooling simply because it's moving too fast.  End result in situations like that........sweating!  The body's natural answer to over-heating!

So, you have to support the Boiler's hard work by insulating the "Radiators" so as not to undo all that energy input in the first place.  Good gloves and potentially a liner glove with an over glove where required, warm thermal socks and a good warm insulating fleece hat, will assist the body in maintaining that prefect warm feeling.

Remember this, it's far easier to cool down if you are too warm than it is to warm up when you are already cold.