Friday, January 18, 2008

Resolutions 2008: Too Cold to Exercise? Try Another Excuse

One of my resolutions this year is to complete a half marathon before June 1, 2008. That means running in the cold (cold for the South, at least).

From the New York Times, you can read why it never really is too cold to exercise. Some folks you know may already cutting out on a New Year's resolution to exercise because of "the weather." Well, now you know this:

"Extreme cold can be safe for exercisers ... . John W. Castellani, an exercise physiologist at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine" informs that it turns out that even though cold can be frightening, more people are injured exercising in the heat than exercising in the cold.

Dr. Castellani was lead author of a 2006 position paper from the American College of Sports Medicine on exercising in the cold.

“The big question was, ‘Is it ever too cold?’” Dr. Castellani said. “The answer is no. People go to the poles, people are out there when it’s minus-50 degrees, people do incredible things, and safely. There really isn’t a point where you can tell people it is not safe anymore.”

A few gems from the NYT article:

"Some worry that cold air will injure their lungs or elicit asthma symptoms. Or they are convinced that they are more susceptible to injury when it is cold and that they have to move more slowly — forget about sprinting or running at a fast clip.

But lungs are not damaged by cold, said Kenneth W. Rundell, the director of respiratory research and the human physiology laboratory at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa. No matter how cold the air is, by the time it reaches your lungs, it is body temperature, he explained.

Some people complain that they get exercise-induced asthma from the cold. But that sort of irritation of the respiratory tract is caused by dryness, not cold."

Get the rest of the article here. As for me, I'll be running this weekend in Atlanta, which by the way is expecting three inches of snow on Saturday.