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Family Sports & Fitness
Baby, it’s Cold Outside!
Learn about your normal body temperature and the signs of hypothermia so winter sports remain healthy fun.
While most of us think of 98.6 degrees as “normal body temperature,” that number is actually an average. “Normal” readings can range from 97.7 to 99.5 degrees based on many factors including:
Time of day • Your lowest body temperature is usually at around 4 a.m.; your highest temperature is usually in the late afternoon, around 4 p.m. • Your temperature rises just after you eat or drink.
Age and gender • Younger people have higher temperatures than older people. • Older people have less variation in their temperature throughout the day. • Women’s temperatures vary with their menstrual cycle.
Fitness level • The more fit you are, the more your temperature will vary during the day.
The dangers of getting too cold Hypothermia is a serious condition that occurs when your body loses more heat than it can generate. Hypothermia is a serious condition: When your body temperature drops 2-4 degrees below normal for too long, your organs can begin to shut down. • High winds and extreme cold are a dangerous combination that can bring on hypothermia • Wind quickly whisks away body heat so you get cold even faster. • Rain, snow and sweat can increase your chances of hypothermia if you remain wet for too long.
Be aware of the signs of hypothermia Check yourself and your exercise partners frequently to be sure you’re safe outside in the cold. See our tips on staying warm when working out outside in the winter months. If you see even one of these symptoms, warm up quickly: • Loss of coordination • Weakness • Sleepiness • Pale and cold skin • Slow heart rate or breathing • Confusion • Shivering that does not stop after a few seconds
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