Being cardiovascularly fit provides additional protection during exposure.
It's best to work out during the day, because it's warmer and ice patches are more visible. If you have time to exercise outdoors only in the evening, avoid high-traffic areas and wear reflective clothing.
If you experience cold lungs, wrap a scarf around your face and breathe
Hypothermia, which is more systemic, is potentially fatal if not treated immediately. It occurs when the body's core temperature falls below 98.6 degrees. Symptoms include severe lightheadedness to the point of slurred speech, loss of motor skills, and fatigue. A victim may quickly lose consciousness. Hypothermia is exacerbated by high winds and wet clothing.
These conditions are best dealt with by dressing properly, warming up, and getting out of the cold as soon as you've had enough. Do not expose affected areas to extreme heat. The body should be warmed up quickly but not immediately.
Rubbing the frostbitten area or exposing it to extreme heat can cause further damage because the body is in a susceptible state.
Drink a lot of water and stay hydrated. Eat carbohydrates in the cold to quickly stoke your inner fire.
Follow these common-sense tips and your outdoor winter activities will be safe and enjoyable.
Bill Parisi is a nationally recognized expert on fitness, general health, and athletic performance. Parisi welcomes your questions and comments. Write to him in care of Parisi Sports Clubs, 2-22 Banta Place, Fair Lawn, N.J. 07410; visit his Web site at www.billparisi.com; or fax questions to (201) 794-6009.