Choose clothes well: protect yourself from the cold

Sergi Cedrún

10 February, 2016

A very important factor in sporting is knowing how to choose the most appropriate technical clothing for each situation at all times. To do this, you must take into account a series of basic concepts and play with the possible combinations.

One of the memories I keep with my grandfather's most esteem is the day that told me about a young man what he had to do to not get cold with the bike if one day he did not go well or if he was turning cold. And I will not forget the incredulous face that I did, after a few months, a day that was not very warm and I put into practice his advice using a newspaper placed on his chest to stop the air ... and it worked!
Nowadays technology looks at removing the old tricks of popular wisdom and, in many cases, making use of it makes us all a little easier.
We know that a thermal insulator is one that does not allow the temperature to be transmitted from a hotter area to another area with a lower temperature. Therefore, the final aim of the clothes is not to warm up, but to maintain the temperature generated by the body and not to allow it to affect external elements.
When a piece of clothing does not work well, the heat transfer of the body is high, so we will be talking about fresh clothes. The opposite case will be found when this garment has a high insulating capacity. We will be talking about clothes for situations of low temperatures.
The best way to dress up for outdoor activities, and as always has been done, is the layers system: combining materials and fabrics overlaid so that air zones are created that, mixed with the clothes, will do the desired thermal insulation.
First layer: underwear or thermal clothing
It is the clothes that will be in contact with the skin. Its most important function is to transfer sweat to keep the body as dry as possible and to conserve the heat in situations of very cold in the case of thermal clothing. Cotton underwear only provides comfort and a bit of thermal insulation.
Second layer: hot zone
He is in charge of keeping the heat generated by the body. It is the most bulky layer of all. In situations where it does not make a wind or it does not rain it can serve as an outer layer. Polar fleece, feathers, specific fibers ...
Third layer: protection against the elements
The most external layer is the one that fights against the adverse natural elements: wind, rain and snow. The best known are woven like Gore-Text or Sympatext.
Today we will talk about the deepest layer of onion: the core
Today's thermal clothing has the ability to heat the body, either during the most intense activity or at rest in adverse weather conditions. In addition, we can not forget its function in the management of the humidity of the sweat produced by the physical activity, that generates sensation of cold or heat according to the atmospheric conditions if it is not evacuated correctly.
As a third factor, which has recently come into play, we also find compressive fabrics. Although there are studies for and against compression clothing, it has grown exponentially for the circulatory and recovery benefits that are associated to it and, why not say so, thanks to marketing and fashion.
In the market we find different thermal products depending on the use, person and environment, ranging from the most basic and simple to the most technical for extreme cold situations:
Type of use
- Static or moderate activities. There is little body heat and little sweating, therefore we need a high capacity for thermal insulation.
- Intense activities. Training or work situations of medium or high intensity in which the body generates a lot of heat and sweating. Therefore, the insulating need will be lower but we will have to look for clothes with a much higher transpiration capacity. In this segment we begin to find compression.
User type
- leisure We will give more importance to comfort. We have to look for a thermal capacity medium or high depending on the time and little compression with medium sweating.
- Medium or high performance. Intense workouts and occasional competition. In this case, we start to give light weight with medium thermal capacity and high breathability. Compressive clothing begins to be a good option.
- Competition. In this very specific case we will look for a thermal capacity not very high and high breathability with good compression. In high competition the formula must be as personalized as possible to the individual and the weather conditions.

Depending on the environment
- Indoor. Being in a closed place we can choose a piece of clothing that is very insulating and quite breathable, so do not leave too much sweat on the skin.
- Outdoor with moderate temperature. The danger is in the cooling by humidity in stops or rests, therefore we will look for a moderate thermal capacity with good capacity of perspiration.
- Outdoor with cold temperature. In this case we are interested in a high thermal capacity with a very good perspiration, especially if the level of activity is high.
Therefore, we have to choose the piece very carefully depending on the characteristics we need. A too compressive piece in an inadequate area can cause problems with the venous return.
Now that you have all the information, you can decide what type of thermal clothing is best for your profile. You can enjoy more comfortable physical activity!

the author

Sergi Cedrún

Personal trainer

Bachelor of Science in Physical Activity and Sports (URLL)

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