Saturday, December 17, 2016

Cold Weather

Well, it's obvious winter has long arrived everywhere, including the Pacific Northwest, namely the south Puget Sound area where I live and walk 6 miles most days a month (usually 20 or more days but sometimes fewer days for reasons). It arrived more so the last week or so.

Normally winter in the Puget Sound lowland is cool with respect to the mid-west, with the long winter with seasonal snow, and often the east coast, with their winter snowstorms causing all sorts of problems.

Here's it's mostly rain and cool, lots of cloudy to overcast days, often continuous for days on end and even a 2-3 weeks with just a peek of sunshine, and temperatures in the 40's most days, occasionally the mid-to upper 30's. But rarely snow below 500-1,000 foot elevation.

Over the 3 of the last 4 winters of walking in the early mornings my body and immune system has generally been very robust against the cold, and fighting colds, flu, etc. bugs, meaning weather didn't have much of an effect on me, just add warmer clothes and I was good to go.

Beginning last winter with the bacteria overgrowths (long story written about on this blog ad naseum) I began to be more sensitive to cold, flu, etc. bugs, but not so much the weather. Fast forward to this winter now free of the bacteria problem, thanks to an excellent naturopath, but things have dramatically changed.

I've become less sensitive to cold, flu, etc. bugs, except to be mildly sick for a day or so and then am back to normal, but I've become more sensitive to cold temperatures, which is what I learned this week when the cold snap hovered over the region with temperatures in the 20's.

I learned my body, or really my metabolism, is good keeping my warm while walking down to the low 30's, but I feel slightly cold into the upper 20's and especially with a 5-10 degree wind chill, common during our cold snaps with artic winds from the north.

I learned my body quits keeping me warm below the upper 20's, and all the winter clothing doesn't help. This happened this morning with temperatures in the mid-20's (24-26 degrees) and shortly into my walk it was evident my body couldn't keep up with the cold, even with no wind to speak of.

The question is if this is from age, now 67, the weight loss, now under 140 lbs, or a combination of those and other factors where my body just can't generate the heat to stay warm even while walking. This is new to me, something I now have to get used to during winters.

I'm ok when it's in the 30's whether it's raining or snowing, and only when it gets below 30 degrees will I know my body won't stay warm, but not enough to feel cold, just not warm. Below that though, it's going to be a day to day decision for walks.

I have enough good winter clothes to the upper 20's (wool, fleece, down, GoreTex, etc.), but I learned that's the limit my clothes will keep me warm and below that the body just can't keep up with the temperature, unless I went for a full winter set of clothes common for the upper elevations or the mid-west.

Anyway, that's the story today. No walk, or a short one with a quick u-turn into it. Lesson learned about being older and lighter and weather. The good news is these periods are brief, mostly 1-3 days before it warms back into the 30's when I can walk.

No comments:

Post a Comment