I’d say today might be the first official cold day where I live. It might not be full parka weather quite yet, but it’s surely right around the corner.
Cool weather can pose some danger to heart health, so staying warm as the temperatures drop is essential.
Cold temperatures can bump the risk for hypothermia, and you may be at higher risk than you think. Failure to adequately dress for outdoor activity can boost the risk for potentially dangerous reduction in body temperature. When that happens, your heart, nervous system, and other organs can’t work properly.
It’s easy to head outdoors and think it’s not too cold out or that you’ll be doing an activity so you won’t necessarily feel the cold. But hypothermia can be deceiving, and you might not always recognize how cold you are until it is too late.
Wearing a warm coat, hat, gloves, boots and even long underwear or other “base layers” can help retain body heat. Base layers are great for extended periods outdoors because they are not bulky and keep your natural heat locked in.
When looking for base layers, ensure they are sweat-wicking. Wool is the best option.
If you know you’re likely to get hot, layer accordingly so a sweater can be removed, or a jacket opened. But be careful. If you’re out shovelling the driveway or for a walk and you open your jacket or take it off, it may not take very long for your body temperature to drop.
Aside from layering up – including keeping your feet and hands warm with socks, suitable footwear, and gloves, try to avoid alcohol while outdoors. It might be enticing to head out for a holiday walk with a drink, but booze can actually allow you to lose heat much faster.
Alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate, sending more blood to your skin that gives it the feeling of warmth. The problem is that you want that blood more in your core to stay warm. Alcohol might make you feel warm, but it actually reduces core temperature and causes you to lose heat faster.
Do your best to stay warm and healthy and fully enjoy the season.