Taking simple precautions can dramatically reduce your risks in cold conditions and let you fully enjoy being, well, freezing. Here are a few:
☐ Bring and wear proper gear. Big tip: Don’t wear cotton! When it gets wet, air pockets in this fabric will fill up with water so that it stops insulating you. And it takes a long time to dry.
☐ Take a buddy and stay close together. If something happens to one of you, the other now can give aid or call for help.
☐ Before you leave home, study a map. Tell a friend or family member exactly where you’re going, what you’re doing and when you plan to return. Then take the map with you and stick to the plan.
☐ Learn about the weather, terrain and elevation of where you will be traveling. Do this well before you leave. And be prepared for sudden weather changes.
☐ Know basic first-aid techniques, such as CPR, just in case. Free CPR classes are often taught at city recreation centers and American Red Cross centers.
☐ Stay hydrated when you’re out. This is important even when it’s very chilly. That’s because the air you breathe is dry, explains Michael Tipton. He’s a cold-weather expert at the University of Portsmouth in England. As your body warms that inhaled air, you will make it damper. In the process, you lose water through your breathing organs, especially your nose and lungs. And keep in mind that you being dehydrated can harm your performance. You can even die from it.
☐ If you’re going to be exercising in the cold, pay even more attention to staying hydrated, because you can sweat out some of your fluids as you work. Also wear layers of clothing so that you can take off one if you’re too hot, but then put it back on as you slow down – and cool down.