“The hawk is back.” That’s what we Chicagoans say when temperatures turn cold here. I woke up to 22F degrees the other morning. Mid November is a bit early for such temps, but if you want to ride your bike, you deal with it. By the way, when temps fall to sub zero, the expression is, “The hawk is back … and he brought his whole damn family.”
So, winter seems to have come early to Chicago.
Whether you ride a bike or not, I think you will find some useful info here.
From the Toronto Star
The Wall Street Journal
a while back had a cleverly written item on Your Outdoor Sports Survival Guide
, by Jason Gay. He aptly describes “the maniacal joy of Survival Season,” and observes “Nobody looks suave playing sports in the freezing cold. If you are doing it correctly, you look a little unhinged and suspicious. Are you going to play golf…or rob the Bank of Alaska?”
SPOILER ALERT! I lose.
I flew back from Las Vegas about two weeks ago. As a Chicagoan, that means I had about a four hour flight. Because of the atmospheric change between Chicago and Las Vegas, ie., the increase in humidity and the fact that Las Vegas is about a half mile above sea level, I usually ease into my bike riding exercise upon return. So, the first day back I rode 10 miles and the second 15. During the rides and afterwards, I was vaguely aware of a tickle in my throat and my nose got kind of sniffle-y. I didn’t pay much attention to it. So, the first round went to the cold. I should have started eating 500 MG Vitamin C tablets at the first sign. You can blast a cold out of your system if you catch it early enough. I foolishly attributed the sniffles and sore throat to jet lag, etc. I was wrong.
By the fourth day, I was coughing, sneezing and my throat was killing me. I had a hard time sleeping. The cold flourished like this for several days. Continue reading
Regular readers know that I just turned 77 last week. While I enjoy robust good health at present that is not true of many of my fellow senior citizens. A lot of them don’t get out a lot and suffer from limited mobility.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) said that older adults can be particularly vulnerable in cold weather. The NIA offered the following ways to stay safe during the winter months. While these are directed at seniors many apply to any individual deciding to go out and brave the winter winds.
Try to stay away from cold places. Changes in the body that come with aging can make it harder for older adults to be aware of getting cold.
Check the weather forecasts for windy and cold weather. Try to stay inside or in a warm place on cold and windy days. If you have to go out, wear warm clothes including a hat and gloves. A waterproof coat can help you stay warm if it’s cold and snowy.
Wear several layers of loose clothing when it’s cold. The layers will trap warm air between them. Don’t wear tight clothing because it can keep your blood from flowing freely. This can lead to loss of body heat.
Ask your doctor how the medicines you are taking affect body heat. Some medicines used by older people can increase the risk of accidental hypothermia. These include drugs used to treat anxiety, depression, or nausea. Some over-the-counter cold remedies can also cause problems.
When the temperature outside has dropped, drink alcohol moderately, if at all. Alcoholic drinks can make you lose body heat.
Make sure you eat enough food to keep up your weight. If you don’t eat well, you might have less fat under your skin. Body fat helps you to stay warm.
As a Chicagoan, I have dealt with cold weather before in the blog as well as my daily life:
Don’t hibernate in cold weather – Harvard
Cold weather exercising tips
11 Cold weather exercise tips
I have posted on the health benefits of sweet potatoes previously, but, I think good information bears expanding. Here is a very useful infographic.
Here are a couple of highlights, but click on this link for the entire spread.
In addition, WebMD has an informative spread on them, too. Under the heading Antioxidants Aplenty it offers: “Not all sweet potatoes are orange. Their skins and insides can be white, yellow, brown, red, pink, and purple. The range of color brings different nutrients to the table. Purple-fleshed sweet potatoes are thought to contain super-high levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. As these substances pass through your system, they balance out free radicals — chemicals that harm your cells.”
Under the heading Healthy Prep Is Easy it says: “The way you cook your sweet potatoes can make a big difference in the nutrition you’ll get from the dish. One study measured how many carotenoids, like beta-carotene, stayed in the food afterward. The simplest method, oven baking, turned out to be the best.”
Having written about flu season for the past few months, when I started getting head cold symptoms last week and got nervous. In addition, an arctic freeze struck Chicago which has kept me off my bike. I found that working out in the health club, I was feeling really wiped out from a light workout. I actually napped afterwards. That and the head cold symptoms were enough for me. I booked a doctor visit. Mr. Conservative wasn’t taking any chances. I had gotten my flu shot early, but didn’t want to take any chances. As I recommended to readers, I had gotten my flu shot early, but didn’t want to take any chances. You can read further on How to Fight the Flu elsewhere in the blog.
Here’s how bad the weather has been, “Chicago’s coldest blast of air in 2 years is easing—but slowly. By midnight Tuesday, the area moved into a 55th consecutive hour of sub-20-degree thermometer readings and 46 hours with wind chills below zero. Tuesday’s 11-degree high and 1-below morning low put the day into the record books as the city’s coldest of the past two years,” according to the blog of Tom Skilling, the awesome local meteorologist.
The walk to the doctor’s office over a mile was a bracing start to the day. Continue reading