Good Morning Avid Exercisers:
Now that we are dead-smack in the middle of winter, even though temperatures have been near 80 degrees during the day for the last week or so here in So. Cal., many who run outdoors in the cold weather or on the treadmill next to Joanne, while she insists on having the front door of the gym open even in the pre-dawn hours, the cold, dry air, which narrows the body’s airways, makes it harder to breathe the harder you (or I) exercise.
So what is a Designer to do if running gives you your fix, but doing so in the cold makes your lungs burn or causes you to cough and prevents you from getting the workout you desperately desire and need?
First, you can try to ask Joanne if you can close the door. Yea right! I’ve known her for 15 years. That won’t happen!!
Or, you can maximize your efforts, and your workouts, by dressing appropriately. Wicking Clothing is another answer; specifically a wicking neck warmer. Made with polyester microfiber formulations and blends, these “scarves”, when placed appropriately around your throat and mouth, are designed to “wick” off the cold air from your neck and trap the natural water vapor you exhale allowing you to then inhale moist, warm air – which is easier on your lungs.
If that seems too uncomfortable, annoying or distracting, as with most things, running in cold weather can become easier with time. To help acclimate your lungs to low temperatures, begin each workout slow, run short distances, on level ground and breathe correctly.
Normally, it is natural (and, by the way, socially preferable) to breathe through your nose. However, when you are running, you should breathe through your mouth instead. Also, you should not be breathing from your chest. Rather, in order to get more oxygen into your system, and allow the release of more carbon dioxide, breathe from your belly. This practice will make for a more comfortable and efficient run by supplying adequate amounts of oxygen to your muscles for maximum performance.
Also, take short and shallow breaths. Don’t huff and puff or gasp for air. Finding a rhythm will make the workout easier too. Count your steps while running. If you can inhale or exhale once very two or three steps, and keep that pace, you’ll be good to go, go and go!
Finally, if you are truly an outdoor runner at heart and still find it too cold to run at your regular times, be flexible with your schedule during the winter months and try to workout at a warmer time of day or venture inside and snag a treadmill. But be warned…if Joanne is there, you may still need your wicking neck warmer, because the door WILL be open.
Oh, by the way, for those of you who are wondering (and I know from the “Reply Alls” I get from my brother’s in-laws), Tracy and I did get our flu shots this past week and are now “allowed” to see Baby Belott Number 2 when he/she is born on March 1!
And last be not least, in keeping with the events of this past week (Armstrong’s Interview), on this day (January 27) in 1984 Carl Lewis landed a 28-foot, 10-inch indoor long jump, eclipsing his own world record in the event by 9 inches.