Dress in moisture-wicking fabrics.
In the cold, the body prioritizes the delivery of nutrient-rich blood to the body’s core and organs. While that helps to naturally protect the body from internal temperature drops and hypothermia, it shunts blood away from the periphery, increasing the risk of frostbite in the hands, feet, ears and nose, explains Dr. Baruch Fertel, an emergency medical physician with the Cleveland Clinic.
Frostbite is an even greater risk for people who have existing circulatory issues such as Raynaud’s syndrome. Raynaud’s, in which vasospasms reduce blood flow to the body’s appendages, most commonly to the fingers, affects 3% to 5% of all adults, according to the National Institutes of Health.
To keep blood-poor areas of the body warm and reduce the risk of frostbite and cold injury, Fertel recommends dressing in multiple layers that you can add or take off as necessary to stay warm and keep sweating to a minimum.
Focus on dressing all cold-sensitive tissues with moisture-wicking fabrics, he says. You can also split small, air-activated heat packs into your gloves or mittens, and you can consider applying warming creams to the skin before starting your workouts, recommends the Raynaud’s Association.