The weather might be cooling down, but that’s no reason to stay inside. There are plenty of wintertime outdoor events – sports, holiday activities, festivals, and social gatherings. But if you’re not a fan of the cold, attending outdoor events in the winter can be uncomfortable.
With enough preparation, everyone can get outside in the winter – and do it with a smile.
You don’t have to be miserable when you’re at outdoor events in the cold. These tips can help you stay toasty warm, even in the harshest weather.
Few things are worse than sitting on cold, hard metal bleachers watching a sporting event while temperatures approach freezing. Anyone who has been to a football game in December knows this all too well.
Not only are those bleachers uncomfortable on your backside, but the cold seat only adds to the suffering. Before long, you’re shivering up a storm, even while wearing layers of clothing.
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The best way to get warm in a flash is to get up and move.
Our bodies work hard to maintain a steady internal temperature. When it’s cold outside, our bodies constrict blood vessels near the surface, keeping our blood warmer. This process helps our hearts, lungs, and brain to keep working correctly. But if we’re sitting still for too long, we’ll start to notice this restricted blood flow in our hands and feet.
Our bodies also trigger shivering, a mechanism that creates energy and, therefore, creates warmth.
If you notice your hands and feet getting extra cold, or you’re starting to shiver, that’s a sign that your body is struggling to stay warm.
Getting up and moving around increases blood flow, increasing warmth to your extremities. As you start to burn calories through movement, your body temperature starts to rise. It doesn’t take much to get that heart pumping. Stand up and march in place for 30 seconds. Do a few jumping jacks. Stand up and sit down five times. Even small movements are enough to get your body feeling comfortable again.
Of course, you can prevent cold toes and hands in the first place with some heated clothing.
Dehydration can sneak up on you in the winter months. You don’t often feel as parched in the cold, but your body still needs plenty of fluids. Hydration is key to keeping your body temperature regulated.
Kill two birds with one stone and make that drink a warm one. Hot beverages can serve two purposes: hydrating your body and helping to warm you up from the outside in. But be careful of what you’re drinking: fluids with lots of caffeine and alcoholic beverages are diuretics, meaning you’ll dehydrate even faster.
If you’re at an outdoor sporting event, one of the easiest ways to stay warm is to scream, cheer, and jump up and down. The movement increases blood flow, therefore keeping you warm. But the adrenaline rush you get from cheering on your favorite team can also cause your heart to beat faster, keeping you from getting chilled.
Even better? Encourage the crowd to join in. Even if your body still feels cold, the comradery is enough to take your mind off the discomfort.
Clothing is critical to keeping comfortable at winter outdoor events. If you’re in a tee-shirt and lightweight pants, standing on the sidelines in a snowstorm, you’re obviously going to be unhappy. But being underdressed isn’t the only danger.
Overdressing can cause problems, too. If your clothing is too warm, you’ll sweat as you move around. Then, when you’re sitting still, that sweat will evaporate and cool, leaving you even more chilled than when you started. Sweat is the enemy of warmth.
The best way to dress for the cold is to dress in layers. If you’re shivering, add a jacket. If you’re too hot, remove that heavy coat. By dressing in layers, you have options to keep your body in that comfort zone.
Another way to keep warm without all the bulk is heated underlayers or an internal coat heater. Both options allow you to control when you’re heated and when you’re not, eliminating sweat and maintaining the perfect temperature.
Here’s your excuse to sidle up next to your partner. When you’re cuddled up next to someone else, your body heat doesn’t dissipate as quickly. Think of the other person as a built-in heated blanket.
And if you’re not there with a significant other, you can still group together and keep one another warm. Even sitting between two other people, or sitting in a larger group, can block the wind and insulate your warmth. Go ahead and get cozy – it’s going to be better for everyone!
Cold feet are no fun. If you’re at an outdoor event, be sure to treat your feet. This is especially important if the ground is wet. Wear waterproof shoes, insulated if necessary. Consider a wool-based sock that will help keep any moisture off your skin. Consider heated socks or shoe insoles, which can heat your feet quickly in extra cold weather.
Cold weather doesn’t have to force you inside. Get out and enjoy the season’s outdoor events!
By Becca Stewart
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