Cold, Snow, and Glucose Control: Stay Warm and Active

Cold temps and a small window of daylight are common reasons why many of us wax sedentary during the winter months.

However, it may not be winter’s chill keeping us inside. Our mindset about winter may be the real culprit. Instead of appreciating the delights of the season, we tend to consider winter a thing to be endured—and we often endure it by sitting indoors and eating too much.

Unfortunately, with diabetes, our need for exercise and weight management to control blood sugar does not hibernate for the winter.

Staying Active and Warm

Maybe we should adopt the attitude of people living in Tromso, Norway, where the winter sun never peeks above the horizon. Residents there view the season as a time to be enjoyed and say, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Here, then, are four tips for bundling up, and getting outside to enjoy walking, ice skating, snow shoeing, running, skiing, bird watching, Frisbee tossing, sledding, or making a snowman.

  1. Do not dress too warmly. Activity and exercise generate considerable heat that causes us to sweat—even in cold weather. As sweat evaporates it pulls heat from the body, and we may become chilled.
  2. Dress in layers that can be peeled off when you begin to sweat. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material (e.g., polypropylene) since is draws sweat away from the skin. Over that, add a layer of wool or fleece for insulation, then add a breathable, waterproof top layer. Some individuals will need more insulation than others, depending on their build.
  3. Be sure to protect your hands, head, feet, and ears. A pair of polypropylene liners under wool gloves or mittens will keep your fingers toasty, and you can pull the outer layer off if your hands sweat. Buying boots or exercise shoes a half size larger gives you room for thermal socks, or an extra pair of regular ones. You might also need a ski mask or scarf to protect your face.
  4. For those with sensitive appendages, consider using chemical heat packs to warm hands and feet, or wear battery warmed socks and gloves.

Though cold weather is an excuse for staying indoors, it's not a healthy one. Dress warm, stay active, and have fun.

“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.” ~ John Burroughs

Sources: Fast Company; Mayo Clinic
Photo credit: Lotzman Katzman

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