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TOPIC: How do I run in the cold without getting sick.

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October 9, 2012 3:12 PM
It's starting to get really cold in my region. I run outside in the early mornings, so it's not uncommon to have temperatures of only 15 to 20 degrees at that time. Last winter/early spring I suffered some major upper respiratory illnesses. I'm realizing it was probably due to breathing in too much cold air almost every single morning. What can I do to protect my lungs while I run in the cold winter air? I don't have a treadmill, and probably wont get one. I really prefer to run outside.
October 9, 2012 3:16 PM
I recently got back into running, and mostly, I've stuck to my treadmill. I do enjoy running outside, though, so I am looking forward to the advice as well!
October 9, 2012 3:19 PM
Unfortunately I think there is really no way. When it is that cold, theres not much you can do for your lungs. A lot of my friends also hate treadmills (I hate running in general :p), and I know they prefer to go to their local YMCA or university gym and run the indoor tracks. Many of these have windows to look outside at least, or a view of activities going on inside to give you some sort of entertainment.

Hope this helps, best of luck!
October 9, 2012 3:23 PM
wear a scarf? like a light weight snood... not sure how it would work out really... just an idea *shrugs*
October 9, 2012 3:24 PM
While being stationed in AK we wore baliclava's (ski masks)while running in the cold. they will ice up a bit and let your face thaw before removing or you may be sans eyelashes
October 9, 2012 3:25 PM
You generally get sick from bacteria and viruses, not the weather. Although cold weather can make you feel yucky and make your nose run, it isn't what makes you sick.
October 9, 2012 3:25 PM
You can't get sick from breathing cold air. smile
October 9, 2012 3:26 PM

Unless you have asthma, I don't think you can got sick from running in the cold. Illness is caused by viruses or bacteria, not temperature, though exposure to cold can trigger asthma attacks.


Wrap a scarf around your face.
October 9, 2012 3:26 PM
temperature doesnt make you sick...germs do.

so don't touch members of the opposite sex...they has cooties. ew.
October 9, 2012 3:28 PM
Actually most doctors now believe the spread of illness during the winter comes from the fact that you're generally inside with people more, therefore in closer confines to be exposed to more germs.

Just bundle up and enjoy your runs. Take a multi, eat well, and wash your hands after you sneeze.
October 9, 2012 3:29 PM
My lungs (and ears) kill when it's cold outside.... viruses or no viruses!

I also HATE treadmills....

Try an indoor track.
October 9, 2012 3:30 PM
I'm going to read between the lines with this. You're concerned about regulating your body temperature in the cold. My suggestion would be leggings, and light layers where you can trap pockets of warm air close to your body that won't weigh you down. In terms of health, if you're sick or feeling like your getting sick, don't run. If you feel sickly or want to take something to boost your immune system, I would suggest zinc, vitamin c and b vitamins.

Or just run indoors, on a treadmill, in a hermetically sealed clean room.
October 9, 2012 3:30 PM
the weather will not make you sick, unless you are really old or really sickly. colds are caused by one being exposed to the virus and your body will never catch the same cold twice.

October 9, 2012 3:31 PM
"Exposure" Taken from Wikipedia

A condition of very poor health or death resulting from lack of protection over prolonged periods under weather, extreme temperatures or dangerous substances.

I cycle my breathing between nose and mouth. In my nose, out my mouth. 2 cycles, then 1 cycle in and out my mouth. Stops my nose from freezing.

Also, this is pretty much bro science.
October 9, 2012 3:33 PM
I get sick when I pick up my harder winter workouts -period.. I think it is just due to the fact when you work harder- such as in colder weather, your immune system is focused on repairing your muscle tissue, the added germ factor, and less natural sunlight compound the complications of fighting off outside sickies... I am DREADING the seasonal workout amp up for this reason. I do NOT believe in the flu shot. . But I have had fairly good luck adding additional vitamin C and zinc. Both really inexpensive supplements. I also try to remember to get more dark greens, lots of aromatics (onion, garlic, ginger, cinnamon) and local honey in my food rotation.. You cannot beat natures medicine. And every time you pass a sink, when not at home... wash your hands. Seriously.
Good luck to you dear! I am jealous you can run in cold weather! Thanks to me being an idiot ex smoker.. I struggle under 40 degrees.
October 9, 2012 3:35 PM

Also, this is pretty much bro science.

This makes me happy. I like bro science!! laugh
October 9, 2012 3:35 PM
I live in Ottawa, Canada and I see people running everyday, even in the winter, at -40 outside! Just get the right gear. You can do it!
October 9, 2012 4:04 PM
Well I ran all year last year in the bitter cold and always dressed appropriately. I never felt unprotected clothing wise. But, the cold air really hurts my lungs and my doctor told me breathing in frigid air is really bad for your lungs. Especially when your oxygen intake is increased during physical exercise. We were created to breath through our noses which warms the air before entering into our lungs. Running causes most people to breath through their mouths and allows cold air into the lungs. I've tried breathing more through my nose, but never felt I was getting adequate oxygen intake. I might try a ski mask or scarf over my mouth. Maybe this will help get warm air into my lungs. Otherwise . . . I may be investing in the dreaded treadmill.
October 9, 2012 4:19 PM

My lungs (and ears) kill when it's cold outside.... viruses or no viruses!

I also HATE treadmills....

Try an indoor track.

this! i wish my gym had an indoor track. i just got back from a trail run and it's not even cold yet, it's maybe 55* F. but it killed my lungs, they were burning so badly. i only lasted 1.5 miles because it was so painful. i wonder if it gets better with frequently running in the cold?
January 4, 2013 7:56 AM
I started running in Aug. and have been running outside. I figured that I would be fine to run outside in winter since it doesnt get VERY cold where I am - sometimes low 20s, but mostly lows are around 30s. However, everytime that I have run outside - even in the mid-50s, I have ended up with a sinus infection. I am quite prone to getting them, and I think that combined with breathing hard in the cold has led to me falling sick when I run outside in winter. I have had to accept that I just need to run inside during the cold months. I havent run on a treadmill in a long time, and I am really dreading it. Does anyone have any tips for making any adjustments to attire while running outside in the cold, which might reduce my chances of falling sick - again? Currently I will wear shorts and a shirt, which does make me feel a little cold when I first start, but not once I am running!

Or else, any tips for not hating running on the treadmill?

I am also concerned that come spring I will have lost the knack for running outside!! sad


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