15 tips for keeping warm while playing outside in winter


15 tips for keeping warm while playing outside in winter

In winter, it’s cold, we know that, and we generally dress accordingly. Really, all the time? However, sometimes we freeze! So how can we warm up? Let’s start with a short course in Bio 101, followed by our effective tips and tricks.

Ah, this subject inspires me! I’ve always been very sensitive to the cold, and I remember my mother’s advice when I went to play outside or go skiing: “Don’t take your fale out in the air and put on your tuque: it’s through your head that your body heat comes out! To better understand how our internal heating system works and how to adjust it, I offer you a short course not in automobile mechanics, but in biology. It will then help to understand the tips for warming up the body! You will have the necessary arguments to explain to your children how to beat the cold while playing outside.

Warming Up in Winter: Bio 101 Course
The body must maintain an internal temperature of 37°C to function. It has a thermoregulation system that acts like a thermostat with its settings to increase or decrease the heat. When the temperature rises, we start to sweat (the evaporation of body water will cool us down). When it drops, due to the cold outside, our body reacts in several ways to keep the vital organs warm, otherwise they will no longer function properly.

Where are these organs located? Heart, lungs, stomach, liver, bladder and all the rest? At the center of our body. Then the brain sends a message to the blood vessels to constrict (vasoconstriction) so that the blood decreases its circulation towards the extremities of the limbs to concentrate on the area to be warmed around the vital organs.

Another mechanism of thermoregulation of our body: we start shivering and chattering teeth. It is a way of instinctively moving the muscles to activate blood circulation and generate heat. And if the skin is covered with goosebumps, it’s because, when humans were completely hairy, it made the hairs stand up to further insulate the skin from the cold. If you have 4 minutes to watch this video on thermoregulation with your family, the explanation is clear and simple.

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Now let’s move on to practical tips for keeping your body warm, especially your extremities, which get cold faster, now that you understand this principle of thermoregulation.

Tip # 1 : Dress appropriately for warmth
Beyond the principle of onion-skin layers of clothing, it should be noted that too much thickness can be detrimental in the case of intense cardiovascular activity which increases body temperature to more than 37°C. We then start to sweat to evacuate the heat, then to shiver when the sweat evaporates (as in summer: it serves to cool the body). So we dress accordingly: if we walk slowly, on foot or on snowshoes, we need more clothes than if we do cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, winter mountain biking , skating or hockey. on ice. Remember that clothing does not “heat” (unless it has such a function thanks to batteries), but rather helps to maintain body heat.

Tip 1: Fabrics : make the right choice

We are looking for fabrics that retain heat and do not retain moisture, either the synthetic fibers of so-called technical clothing (especially polyester), or the natural fibers that have these qualities, such as merino wool (sheep of Spanish origin ) and alpaca wool (but NOT cotton).

Tip 2: A bag for the extra pieces

Plan for a large ziplock type bag to slip in the pieces of clothing (scarf, large mittens, sweater, etc.) that will be removed as the body warms up during the activity.

Tip 3 : A change of clothes, a plus

Carry socks, mittens and a spare sweater in a dry bag.

Tip # 4 : Long live the dryer!

For the more cautious, before leaving, put the socks in the dryer to warm them up and put them in a thermos!

Tip # 5 : Yes to heated clothing

Jackets, gloves, socks and (ski) boots equipped with a heating system are worn, if necessary. We lower the temperature during the moments when we move the most.

Tip # 2 : Keep extremities warm
Yes, my mother was right: wearing a hat and a scarf helps keep your head warm, because it is more difficult for blood circulation to get there when it’s cold. If you have very often frozen extremities, talk to your doctor; you may have Raynaud’s syndrome .

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To warm hands and feet:

Tip # 1 : Two is better

Two pairs of mittens are worn one over the other, or a small glove inside a mitten. Same thing for stockings, the pair directly on the foot must be very thin, otherwise the boot will be tighter and this will cut off blood circulation.

Tip # 2 : Metal, why not!

We won’t give you a Physics 101 lesson, but since metal conducts heat, holding a key or large coin inside gloves or mittens helps keep hands warm.

Tip # 3 : Hand warmers when needed

We insert hand warmers in single-use sachets (Hotshots type) in our gloves or mittens, or those with multiple uses, such as the Quebec invention Hot Poc . There are also rechargeable hand warmers using a cable with a USB port (for example from the brands OCOOPA, Celestron, Unigear, etc.).

Tip 4 : Up to the boots

The equivalent of hand sachets is inserted into the boots, but in a foot warmer version. Or, we opt for insulating or even heated insoles.

Tip # 5 : A pinch of pepper!

When I was little, a friend of mine at the ski club convinced me to sprinkle pepper in my boots. Well, it worked: it gave off a heat that kept my toes from freezing! It’s not a myth, confirms blogger Kelly Godbout , a biology student, who has done her research on the effect of pepper in boots, with supporting illustrations.

Tip # 3 : Move to Generate Heat and Chase the Cold
We have understood (thanks to our Bio 101 course) that the muscles that are activated accelerate blood circulation to the extremities, generating a feeling of heat at the same time. So let’s move, to warm up!

Tip # 1 : Move your arms

This exercise helps increase blood circulation and warm up the body, because more muscle groups are involved. Walking on foot or on snowshoes with poles helps to activate the arms, as well as jumping arms in the air, making a jumping jack pause or large circles while milling forwards then backwards (like swimming the crawl forwards and backwards). By raising your arms in the air, you are against gravity: it takes more muscular effort to keep them up than when they naturally fall down.

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Tip # 2 : Avoid immobility

We do not stay too long without moving! If you plan to sit down, bring a cushion for insulation. For example, sacrificing a yoga mat by cutting it into as many parts as there are people in the family. After the break, we get up and everyone starts to warm up by jumping on the spot and clapping their hands!

Tip #4: Stay hydrated and eat well to beat the cold
We don’t realize it, but even in winter we sweat, especially when we are active. It is therefore necessary to rehydrate to maintain the “water capital” – the constant quantity of water in our body – necessary to ensure the regulation of our internal temperature. Eating also gives energy and activates blood circulation. Read the article on how to eat well while hiking .

Tip # 1 : Cold and hot liquids

Bottles of several types of liquids are distributed between parents and children. For example, small water bottles to slip into the inside pockets of the children’s coats, to take a few quick sips during the activity, and larger thermoses with hot drinks in the parents’ backpacks: tea, coffee and hot chocolate for breaks. You can find recipes in the article on comforting hot drinks .

Tip # 2 : Hot Snacks

As a snack, in addition to the traditional granola-type bars, provide a vegetable soup with herbs and spices (to taste). It will promote vasodilation of the blood system: more blood will circulate and warm the body.

Tip # 3 : A spicy meal the night before

The day before the excursion or outdoor sports activity, we think of eating spicy food. The consumption of ginger, turmeric and cardamom would help in particular to warm up the body. Why not try it?

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