Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Winter Weather Survival Guide

When I was a kid I loved romping around in the cold. Even as a teen in Southwest Florida I used to say, "I'd rather be cold than hot because I can always put more clothes on." Since I broke my neck, my body's thermostat is out of whack and doesn't regulate well. So, I'm going to share my winter weather survival guide.

Layers for Warmth:

My mom tells me her dad wore long johns from October through April. Since I broke my neck I find the best way to stay warm is layering. It is annoying when getting dressed and undressed to wrestle two shirts and a sweater or jacket, but it does work. An extra layer adds the insulation that keeps the chill out and the body heat in.

Head and Shoulders:

When I moved to Virginia three years ago I experienced real winter. East Texas and Southwest Florida have mild to warm climates. Below 60 degrees is cold for me. And wind? Don't get me started. So I was educated on the importance of protecting my head and shoulders. Dana bought a scarf, and it worked! It is cashmere and very nice. I also have scarves, including a homemade one from my grandma. With a beanie (or tooke, or sock hat, or toboggan), I keep my head and shoulders warm. My ears are my indicator. When they get cold, I am about to be uncomfortable.
I also use a rice wrap warmed in the microwave, but I also draw up my shoulders and my neck gets tight when I use it too much.


You ever wonder why your neck gets so tight in the cold? I found out it's because our nature is to draw up when uncomfortable and protect the vulnerable areas. Look above to keeping the head and shoulders covered. Through the day I also stretch a little more than in summer. Working over a computer is bad enough. Before fatigue sets in, I try to stretch a lot to keep relaxed. Check out yoga videos on YouTube for pointers.
At night I have a heating pad on my pillow. Even with all of my preemptive work, I take an hour to relax at night. My neck and shoulders are drawn up at first, but the stress melts away with the heating pad.

From the Inside Out:

Hydration is also extremely important. It's easier in the summer because I'm hot and thirsty, but in the winter I know I need to drink plenty of clear fluids too. Water is number one. When my body is hydrated my joints and muscles are less sore. My Camelback bottles keep me on track. Hot tea is excellent too. It warms me from the inside. Orange and lemon rinds make a good tea in hot water too.
Never underestimate Ibuprofen either. Pain killers can take the edge off.

These are my essentials. You have any other pointers to share?


Kelly said...

Very good tips! My husband,whom is a quad as well,loves his electric blanket,and living in northern Michigan it is needed from Sept on...his legs are always the hardest to keep warm,but the electric blanket works fabulous,and some days I cant get him out of bed!!!

I just can't shut up said...

I'm a walking quad (yes we are real). Different parts are generally different temperatures. I have finger function, but not so much when it's below 30 out. This fall I hit on the brilliant idea of 2 prs of gloves. If I need to work my smart phone, I can take off the outer glove and still use the phone.

Layers....love under armor!
Also love close fit running shirts with thumb holes. The hypersensitive spots on my forearms get bad at various times through the years. In the spring/ summer nifty cool arm socks with thumb holes work. Fall/winter...out come the thermals and running shirts with thumb cutouts.
Lip goo and good lotion help prevent moisture loss too.

Lavender oil rub on shoulders. I bet your lovely wife will help.

Happy wintering from middle o' the mitten, MI