Published 9:16 pm Monday, December 19, 2005
Outdoor activities in the winter can be just as much fun as activities in the summer. You get to build snowmen, ski, have snowball fights, snowmobile or whatever else you can imagine.
While these winter conditions can be a blast, they can also be very dangerous if you don't dress for the occasion.
Those expensive boots you just bought may be waterproof, but they will not stop you from getting frostbite. How about that new coat your child just got. Will it really keep them warm?
Before you head outdoors for that snowy adventure, here are some tips to make sure you and your loved ones stay extra warm.
Layer it on thick
When it comes to your body, think layers! It's always best to add a couple of layers of clothes if you know you are going to be in the cold for quite some time. Start with long johns and add a sweatshirt and pants or sweats. Even add another layer if you wish. If you get too warm, you can always take a layer off, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
This is very important for people who enjoy snowmobiling or skiing. If you have a break down or get lost, it may be some time before you are noticed or get help. That extra layer will come in handy when hanging out in the cold!
Cover up that noggin'
We all know that heat escapes through our noggins, that's why it is extra important to make sure your head and ears are covered! A hat works best and even a pair of earmuffs underneath will help.
Don't forget the scarf too! Even if it is bright pink and you have a red coat. Scarves help cover our throats, mouths and noses and can help keep that cold away!
Smitten for mittens.
If you wrap your fingers in too-tight gloves or mittens, circulation is reduced and they will cool faster than if you have some wiggle room. Mittens are typically warmer than gloves, but if you are going to be outdoors, no matter what the occasion, it's always best to use waterproof gloves. Mittens tend to get wet very fast.
Liner gloves of silk, wool or synthetic fabrics can trap warmth. Another easy way to keep the blood pumping to hands and fingers is to grab a pair of ski poles when you head out for a walk. They help get blood circulating to the hands, and can stop a fall on a slippery surface.
Protect your piggies.
Those people who bundle their feet in huge wool socks plus a pair of (or two or three) cotton ones may actually be doing more harm than good.
Like your fingers, toes need to be able to be able to move freely. Wiggle room allows for better circulation. If they are crammed inside too much fabric, circulation is impeded and the blood simply can't get around to warm them. Since cotton holds water and perspiration, wear only one pair of synthetic or wool liner socks. They take up almost no room in boots and are usually quite inexpensive.
If your feet and hands are still getting cold after these steps, invest in some hand warmers. These can also be used in shoes. They are very inexpensive and some last for up to 10 hours.
Quench your thirst.
Believe it or not, drinking a tall glass of water, even an ice cold one, helps you stay warm. Your body needs water to keep blood pumping, and people tend to become dehydrated in the winter without knowing. Fill a water bottle with warm water before you start exercising; you'll drink more, and the liquid won't feel as cold going down.