Outdoors: Don’t let cold keep you indoors

February 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

Thursday morning we awoke to about a foot of new snow, bright blue skies and single-digit temperatures. I couldn’t wait to get outside.

More than any other season, winter requires a certain level of dedication for lovers of the outdoors. Its vast rewards — pristine fields of snow glittering in sunshine, crystal clear views, nature-made sculptures of ice and wind-blown snow — are often offset by the discomfort we endure to enjoy them.

Whenever I step outside on a cold winter’s day, I start the countdown to suffering. I’ve got a limited amount of time to get moving and to get my blood circulating before my hands are seized by significant pain. If my husband, Herb, pauses too long to look at a map or I take off my gloves to struggle with a piece of gear, my fingertips turn white and hurt like heck.

I’ve self-diagnosed myself with something called Raynaud’s disease. This, as I understand it, means the blood vessels in my hands and feet spasm when exposed to cold (vasoconstriction), suddenly reducing the blood flow.

You’d think those of us who like winter might have a higher tolerance for low temperatures. Some people might. But in addition to the Raynaud’s, like many women, I tend to “run cold.” Despite a higher body fat content (thanks, Mother Nature!), studies have shown that due to our smaller size, women tend to lose heat faster than men because we have a larger surface area-to-volume ratio. And while most women have higher core temperatures, our hands are usually colder.

This all explains why, when Herb lollygags on winter summits and checks out the view, I’m either huddled somewhere out of the wind or dancing around like a maniac, trying to stay warm.

Emilie Drinkwater, co-owner of Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides in Keene Valley, said it’s not a matter of wimpiness — some people really do feel the cold more than others. She happens to be one of them.

“I do run colder than most people,” she admitted recently. Her job doesn’t allow her the luxury of staying in when the thermometer dips — if it’s frigid out and a client wants to go ice climbing, she’s goes.

Drinkwater offered a variety of tips for staying warm, including dressing in lots of insulating layers and making sure you get plenty to eat and drink (because staying warm uses lots of energy and dehydration makes you cold).

“Hands are a tough one for women in particular,” she said. Like me, Drinkwater wears layers on her hands as well as on her body, putting thinner glove liners under heavier, insulating mitts. She also makes copious use of air-activated hand warmers, little packets often found next to the register at hardware and sporting goods stores.

Drinkwater said while she’s belaying an ice climbing partner — holding the rope while they climb — she tries to avoid standing around for too long.

“I have to keep moving,” she said. “Jumping jacks or just short little walks back and forth at the base of the cliff. Any kind of movement — I’ll swing my arms a lot to force blood back down into my fingers.”

When she doesn’t have clients and it’s really cold out, Drinkwater said she might choose an aerobic activity like cross-country skiing over ice climbing. Even she has her limits, though — if she’s not working, she’ll stay in on particularly frigid days.

“If it’s 20 below and windy, I don’t need to go outside,” she said, “Mostly because it’s just not enjoyable. It’s kind of suffer-y.”

It was far from 20 below Thursday morning and there wasn’t a hint of a breeze. I was happy to bundle up and take a walk in the crisp air before heading into work. Whether you call it a polar vortex or a deep freeze or some less flattering name, I hope you don’t let winter’s low temperatures keep you inside either.

gscott@timesunion.com 518-454-5532 http://blog.timesunion.com/outdoors/

Cold-weather advice

Outdoors guide Emilie Drinkwater recently offered tips for staying warm at Outdoor Research’s Verticulture blog:

Eat more

Drink more

Wear more

Manage cold hands and feet

Don’t just stand there

Accept being cold

To read the article, go to http://bit.ly/1jiFExA

Outdoors: Don’t let cold keep you indoors

February 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

Thursday morning we awoke to about a foot of new snow, bright blue skies and single-digit temperatures. I couldn’t wait to get outside.

More than any other season, winter requires a certain level of dedication for lovers of the outdoors. Its vast rewards — pristine fields of snow glittering in sunshine, crystal clear views, nature-made sculptures of ice and wind-blown snow — are often offset by the discomfort we endure to enjoy them.

Whenever I step outside on a cold winter’s day, I start the countdown to suffering. I’ve got a limited amount of time to get moving and to get my blood circulating before my hands are seized by significant pain. If my husband, Herb, pauses too long to look at a map or I take off my gloves to struggle with a piece of gear, my fingertips turn white and hurt like heck.

I’ve self-diagnosed myself with something called Raynaud’s disease. This, as I understand it, means the blood vessels in my hands and feet spasm when exposed to cold (vasoconstriction), suddenly reducing the blood flow.

You’d think those of us who like winter might have a higher tolerance for low temperatures. Some people might. But in addition to the Raynaud’s, like many women, I tend to “run cold.” Despite a higher body fat content (thanks, Mother Nature!), studies have shown that due to our smaller size, women tend to lose heat faster than men because we have a larger surface area-to-volume ratio. And while most women have higher core temperatures, our hands are usually colder.

This all explains why, when Herb lollygags on winter summits and checks out the view, I’m either huddled somewhere out of the wind or dancing around like a maniac, trying to stay warm.

Emilie Drinkwater, co-owner of Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides in Keene Valley, said it’s not a matter of wimpiness — some people really do feel the cold more than others. She happens to be one of them.

“I do run colder than most people,” she admitted recently. Her job doesn’t allow her the luxury of staying in when the thermometer dips — if it’s frigid out and a client wants to go ice climbing, she’s goes.

Drinkwater offered a variety of tips for staying warm, including dressing in lots of insulating layers and making sure you get plenty to eat and drink (because staying warm uses lots of energy and dehydration makes you cold).

“Hands are a tough one for women in particular,” she said. Like me, Drinkwater wears layers on her hands as well as on her body, putting thinner glove liners under heavier, insulating mitts. She also makes copious use of air-activated hand warmers, little packets often found next to the register at hardware and sporting goods stores.

Drinkwater said while she’s belaying an ice climbing partner — holding the rope while they climb — she tries to avoid standing around for too long.

“I have to keep moving,” she said. “Jumping jacks or just short little walks back and forth at the base of the cliff. Any kind of movement — I’ll swing my arms a lot to force blood back down into my fingers.”

When she doesn’t have clients and it’s really cold out, Drinkwater said she might choose an aerobic activity like cross-country skiing over ice climbing. Even she has her limits, though — if she’s not working, she’ll stay in on particularly frigid days.

“If it’s 20 below and windy, I don’t need to go outside,” she said, “Mostly because it’s just not enjoyable. It’s kind of suffer-y.”

It was far from 20 below Thursday morning and there wasn’t a hint of a breeze. I was happy to bundle up and take a walk in the crisp air before heading into work. Whether you call it a polar vortex or a deep freeze or some less flattering name, I hope you don’t let winter’s low temperatures keep you inside either.

gscott@timesunion.com 518-454-5532 http://blog.timesunion.com/outdoors/

Cold-weather advice

Outdoors guide Emilie Drinkwater recently offered tips for staying warm at Outdoor Research’s Verticulture blog:

Eat more

Drink more

Wear more

Manage cold hands and feet

Don’t just stand there

Accept being cold

To read the article, go to http://bit.ly/1jiFExA

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