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How to protect your body in the winter ?

In harsh, sub-zero winter conditions, your body needs to adapt over time in order to be able to handle the cold and maintain a good body temperature for the longest time possible. On a physiological level, your body reacts differently depending on the outside temperature. In the winter, your body is able to adapt to the cold over time. However, in order for this to happen, you need to follow some simple guidelines in order to stay warm during your run.

Maintain body heat during your run

When it's cold, the human body tends to lose warmth, although physiological reactions (vasodilation, shivering, shaking, etc.) do help to limit heat loss. To keep your body as well-protected as possible, it is important to effectively isolate it from both humidity – whether internal (sweat) or external (mist, rain or snow) – and cold and protect it from the wind.

A few reminders: 

- Wet or damp garments cause you to get cold at a rate 25 to 30 times faster than room temperature air. These items lose 99% of their insulating abilities when wet.

- The combination of low outside air temperature and wind of 30 km/h is equivalent to glacial temperatures for runners (e.g. the temperature on the skin is at -6 ° degrees). These weather conditions make it harder to warm up.

- If some parts of your body, like your head, neck, abdomen, hands and feet, are not protected from the chilly air, your body will get cold quickly.

Example: Warm blood circulates through your brain during a run. Since the cranial bones are poor insulators, they cannot keep in the warmth that is produced. If you don't cover this part of your body, you can lose 50 to 70% of your warmth through your head.


How to insulate yourself from the cold ?

Wear multiple layers of running apparel:These items should be breathable and should insulate and protect you from the cold and wind. 

Insulating garments that protect you from the cold and wind should be able to keep as much dry air as possible inside their fibres. In other words, by increasing the quantity of air that garments keep in, you protect yourself more effectively from the cold. The Eskimos taught us that it is wise to wear multiple layers to protect ourselves from the extreme cold. Layers should be thin or moderately thick to guarantee true insulating abilities (without overheating), and should promote air circulation between their fibres and the skin.


Kalenji running apparel has been designed and studied to protect runners from a wide variety of bad weather conditions. 

Items are crafted with technically-advanced fabrics which warm easily and wick away perspiration in order to keep in warm, dry air and protect your body from the rain and the wind. 

To help circulate warm air and maintain body warmth every garment features a variety of different qualities. These include:

Comfort, muscle support, ventilation, breathability, insulation, heat, and more.

- Base layers, breathable t-shirts, tops, and insulating fleeces, jackets or waterproof windbreakers and running tights; and 

- Caps, scarves, neckwarmers, insulating gloves and warm socks or ankle socks.


Keep your feet dry and avoid injuries :

In the winter, the ground can be damp and slippery and it often rains. Running shoes should protect your feet from the humidity for as long as possible and should be well-cushioned, with good shock absorption and stability to handle for running on any terrain. Choose trail running or road running shoes featuring a waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry and lugged soles so you don't slip on icy or damp surfaces.



Kapteren running shoes: These shoes feature a variety of technological innovations which will protect you from the cold and damp. The waterproof, breathable membrane in these shoes will keep your feet dry. Kapteren shoes include lugged soles, which optimise traction on wet or slippery surfaces. Innovative designs ensure stability and excellent cushioning for both the ball and heel of the foot.


Stimulate body heat production :

To fight cold temperatures, the body needs "heat" energy. This energy is produced as the result of a diet high in carbohydrates (complex sugars), lipids (fats and vegetable fats) and proteins.

Every athlete should eat a healthy, balanced diet throughout the course of the day in order to meet the physical needs of your body. In the winter, however, it is important to favour certain "energy-rich" foods.


Which foods generate heat ? 

These can be divided into several categories:  

- Complex sugars or carbohydrates (rice, pasta, semolina, bread and grains) are carbohydrates which are absorbed slowly and increase your stock of glycogen (glucose) in the liver and muscles. For runners, these nutrients are necessary to sustain prolonged activity in the cold.

- Proteins (meat, fish and eggs) are the main source of energy for your muscles (amino acids and fats)

- Vegetable fats (peanut oil, olive oil, etc.) play an important role in the way the body produces heat.

- Fruits and vegetables: Your intake of vitamins and mineral salts is often insufficient in the winter due to a lack of sunlight. The fibres contained in these foods improve digestion and bowel functions and help all of your body's systems to run smoothly. Choose fruits like oranges and kiwis and vegetables like spinach, cabbage, beets and carrots, all of which are packed with vitamin C.

During your run, we strongly recommend that you carry nuts, fruit jellies or cereal bars. These foods are packed with carbohydrates and contain vegetable fats which are an excellent source of energy for your cells.


In the winter, drink before, during and after your run

In cold weather, even if the air is dry, you won't feel the same need to stay hydrated as you do in warmer temperatures. However, regardless of the air temperature, your body needs to have enough liquids to hydrate your organs and muscles. 

- When you head out in the winter, choose energy drinks. Their components will keep you hydrated and replenish more than 80% of your glycogen needs. Remember to drink small sips during and after your run.

- Stay away from very cold drinks. The ideal temperature for your drink is about 15° C

- Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink


Whether facing cold, damp or wind, your Kalenji coach will keep you safe!