Hats, shoes and layers: How to stay warm in winter weather

Joe Harrington

January often brings both resolutions and cold weather. Gyms will often have deals and discounts, and Kent State students have access to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, but is it dangerous to exercise outside in the cold?

Ellen Glickman, professor in the School of Exercise, Leisure and Sport, has been studying the effects of cold weather exposure and exercise for years and has her own on-the-job injury.

Glickman suffers from Reynaud’s phenomenon. Reynaud’s phenomenon is a common disease that goes unreported and is caused by overexposure to cold weather, according to WebMD.com. Reynaud’s causes the blood flow in the hands to temporarily decrease. When Glickman is in cold weather, her fingertips turn completely white.

Part of Glickman’s research focuses on cold-weather injuries, their causes and how to prevent them.

According to Glickman’s research, exercising in the cold does not increase strain or injury risk. Some situations, such as rain or wind, can increase cold-weather injuries and diminish the exercise ability in the cold. Also according to her research, athletes use more energy in the cold because of a combination of heavy clothing, walking or running in the snow or shivering.

Jake Weirich, sophomore sports administration major, said he can’t see why anyone would work out in frigid weather.

“Unless you work out daily in the cold, I don’t think your body will ever get used to it,” Weirich said.

Weirich works out five days a week for two hours at the rec center. His workout includes running, biking and lifting weights. The last time he had a true workout in the cold was when he played football in high school, Weirich said.

Glickman’s study caught the eye of the U.S. military, which hired her as a contract employee of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine division. Through working with the division for the past five years, Glickman has gone to many cold places, most recently Pike’s Peak in Colorado, where she will return this summer to do more research about the effects of cold exposure and altitude.

Glickman left Louisiana State and came to Kent State for the facilities: The School of Exercise, Leisure and Sport has a chamber in which the temperature can be adjusted to extreme cold or extreme hot.

At Kent State, students also have their fair share of cold weather. To prevent any injuries when exercising or doing any kind of work outside, Glickman said:

• Wear layers and stay dry. Once one layer of clothing has become wet from sweating, peel it off.

• Cover your head if the temperature is less then 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

• When jogging, make sure your route has many loops along the way and run with a friend.

• Keep your feet dry. “Gortex shoes are nice, because they’re waterproof, if you can afford them,” Glickman said.

Contact College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services reporter Joe Harrington at [email protected].