Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Running Bear

The day’s weather is predicted to be dreary at best today. Rainy. Cold. The fallen leaves have left our trees barren, and are still blowing around in the air, sticking to the cars and the road. It’s dark when we wake up. It’s dark when we eat dinner. It’s darker than ever just because the sun is journeying towards winter solstice - that time when light is most scarce. The house is a bit chillier than usual and we find ourselves scrambling for that winter gear that’s locked up in an attic or basement bin. “Where are those warm gloves my mom bought me last year?”
Our lips are chapping and people around us are beginning to sniffle with colds. The holidays are rushing towards us like a flood, carrying debris of cookies and cakes and pies and all things loaded with sugar and fat. We eat more than usual and want nothing more than to stay in our cozy beds like hibernating bears.
But we’re not bears and we don’t want to fatten up during these next few months! So, what’s the solution?
Winter running might seem daunting at first. Looking out the window, you might picture yourself being soaked to the bone, cold, slipping on the wet leaves or snow. And all of the above can happen and has happened to a few of us. But there are benefits to a winter run that far outweigh any of those imagined pitfalls.
A winter run is exhilarating. Being outside in the elements when everything inside of you screams, “Just lay here on the couch in this warm living room with the clicker and that bowl of popcorn!” is an indescribable feeling. You stand there thinking at first that you’re nuts, but realize quickly how easy and refreshing a winter run can be. It really is just a matter of getting out there.
So, rather than succumb to the lazy voices in your head, and millions of years of hardwiring that is telling you to fatten up during the cold months, take these tips and give your winter a new mindset. Let that drive to feel good and get out there come from something on the inside. Don’t be deterred by anything on the outside. See the weather as irrelevant.
Read the following tips on cold weather exercise and revamp your holiday wish list accordingly:
1.    Layer up. Wear clothes that can be loosened or removed to regulate temperature. For your innermost layer, choose synthetic clothing that will whisk the perspiration away from your skin.
2.    Shield your extremities. Winter shoes should have more traction. Pus, make room for warm socks. Try thin, synthetic layers underneath heavier gloves. Minimize heat loss by wearing a wind-resistant cap. Protect ears with earmuffs or thick headband.
3.   Hydrate. Even in the cold, your body loses moisture as it humidifies the cold air you inhale.
4.    Just get out there. That is by far the most challenging part of a winter run.

Be the running bear!

Tips adapted from Consumer Reports on Health Vol. 23 Num. 12