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Dr. Thomas Wessinghage, former professional athlete, knows. Exclusively for T-Online, the passionate doctor and celebrated athlete breaks a lance for the winter run and gives useful tips for training in cold and freezing temperatures.

Golden rules of running
Photo series with 8 pictures

Not all snow is suitable for winter running

Depending on the specific conditions, you can jog and run on snow to varying degrees. Fresh snow usually offers good grip, provided the ground is reasonably hard and level. The older the snowpack gets, the more it is trodden down by pedestrians and becomes uneven, the more difficult it becomes to walk on it safely and in a coordinated manner. Short stretches at a slow pace can usually still be covered.

It is difficult to run on slush. Here you can hardly move and can only fight your way forward at a slow pace. The snow surface is worst when it thaws during the day and freezes again at night. In such cases, the risk of falling is very high, which is why it is better to move your training session to the gym.

Tips for running clothes in winter

When the conditions are right for a winter run, it’s time to get out. Now it comes down to the right running clothing that reacts flexibly to the current temperatures and possible precipitation. The bottom layer should consist of functional underwear, i.e. of so-called non-wetting fibers. Instead of sucking up liquid (sweat), they pass it on to the outside where it can evaporate. The middle layer depends on the prevailing temperatures and can consist of a thin functional shirt or a warm fleece pullover. The outer layer, in the form of a jacket, keeps out wind and rain.

Running on snow – a question of the right running shoes

Just as important as the right clothing are the right running shoes in winter. The outsole should have a good grip and be provided with grooves, knobs and joints in order to offer the best possible grip on the smooth and slippery surface. The more flexible the sole is, the better it adapts to the ground. A very hard, inflexible sole construction, on the other hand, can make walking on uneven snow surfaces even more difficult.

Trail shoes usually have a robust, moisture-repellent upper material. This can be very valuable when the thaw is beginning. The decisive factor, however, is the feeling of running and the support of the flowing movements.

Warm-up program: Bring the body to operating temperature while running

With the right equipment, nothing stands in the way of winter running fun. Because a special warm-up program for jogging, walking and hiking is not necessary. This is replaced by slow running for around ten to 15 minutes. Nothing else happens when you start your easy run through the winter forest. In winter, however, the organism needs a little longer than in spring and summer to reach the optimal operating temperature in all body regions. Therefore, you should just start walking a little slower than in the warm season.

To person:

Dr. Thomas Wessinghage, born in 1952, as a former athlete, set the oldest still valid German record for men’s Olympic running disciplines over 1500 meters in 3: 31.58 minutes on August 27, 1980 in Koblenz. In 1982 he became European champion in the 5000 meter discipline in Athens. In addition to his sports career, he works as a doctor. He completed his medical studies with the state examination in 1977 and worked as medical director in numerous well-known clinics, including the Saarschleife rehabilitation clinic in Mettlach-Orscholz and the Damp rehabilitation clinic. Since 2008 he has been the Medical Director of the three Medical Park AG clinics in Bad Wiessee.

The health insurance companies promote sporting activity

Sport pays off: Even better than jogging against existing illnesses is to prevent them as much as possible through sport and a healthy lifestyle.https://123helpme.me/argumentative-essay/ The state sees it the same way and makes the statutory health insurance companies much more responsible. Private insurers also reward their active members in the form of various prevention programs and services. Find out now how you can benefit from the services of your health insurance company.

Food for the sports cannons

The right clothing is important for a healthy winter run, but internal clothing is just as important "equipment"In other words: the right diet. In addition to sufficient fluids and proteins, your body needs an adequate supply of carbohydrates in order to be able to supply muscles and brain with sufficient energy during exercise. Read here how you can optimally support your body with the right diet during winter jogging.

Keep an eye on the vital data

Running alone is no longer enough for many ambitious joggers. They want to measure their performance – and that is done with the help of mobile health devices. Wearable fitness gadgets like smartwatches and cardio monitors allow the runner to track and improve their performance. The technical equipment also helps to contain existing risks that winter brings for runners. 

Exercise in winter protects against lifestyle diseases

In general, there is nothing more sensible than regularly exercising in the fresh air and doing sports in winter. This is especially true for people in modern industrialized countries who have been shown to suffer particularly from a lack of exercise. The top six causes of lifestyle premature death now include five related to physical inactivity (the sixth is smoking).

Clothing, breathing, technique: Tips for running in sub-zero temperatures Running in winter: Running equipment for winter Nutrition for runners: With healthy nutrition for running success Fitness in winter: Winter running shoes – robust and hard-wearing

In detail, sport and exercise have a positive effect (internal link: jogging: risky but healthy) and stronger than any drug against heart attacks and strokes (cardiovascular diseases), against type 2 diabetes mellitus (metabolic diseases), against cancer (colon cancer, prostate cancer, Breast cancer), against psychological and psychosomatic ailments (depression, burnout), against infections (colds, flu), against dementia diseases (M. Alzheimer’s etc.) and against osteoporosis.

Too windy, too cold, too dark: No more excuses – with intelligent functional clothing and running accessories, the endurance run through the winter landscape becomes a safe and warm pleasure.

Golden rules of running
Photo series with 8 pictures

Optimal running clothing in the cold: the onion principle

The magic word when choosing the right running clothing in winter is “layering”. Here, several thin layers of clothing are worn layer by layer, similar to an onion. Anna and Lisa Hahner, German Olympic runners, also advise: "The onion principle ensures that the air heated by the body can move freely between the clothes and that the runner does not freeze."

But doesn’t a thick winter jacket or a warmly lined hoodie offer protection against the cold rather than a few airy layers of clothing made of high-tech fibers?

But on the contrary. A thick lining insulates the body temperature, but at the same time prevents moisture transport. Once the T-shirt sticks to the body wet with sweat, it is not only extremely uncomfortable, but also promotes colds.

Winter jogging: invest in the right running clothing

In order to be well armed against the wet and cold when jogging in an average German winter, a basic outfit with three layers is usually sufficient. We explain what to look for when buying:

Sweat transport: Functional clothing should fit the body as closely as possible, be light and seamless. It forms the first layer of optimal running clothing. It guarantees that moisture is reliably carried away from the body and transported to the outside. However, you should refrain from using materials made of natural cotton. Because cotton soaks up sweat like a sponge and locks it in its fibers. The consequences: the clothes stick to the body and the runner begins to freeze. The situation is different with the so-called “functional fibers” of the sports industry. These include polypropylene, polyamide and polyester. Heat: The second layer of functional clothing has the task of insulating the heat given off by the body. That means: The body heat should stay on the body instead of escaping into the cold winter air. This is the only way to keep the jogger comfortably warm even on longer stretches. A lined fleece jacket, for example, is ideal for this. Protective shield: The outermost item of clothing when running has two functions: On the one hand, it serves as protection against the elements, which prevents the cold from reaching the body from outside. On the other hand, the material must ensure that body sweat is transported away. This garment is ideally a lightweight, cold-resistant running jacket. Here, too, the sportswear industry comes up with a wide range of innovations that reliably fulfill both functions. The best-known example are fibers made of Gore-Tex, which block external influences such as rain, wind and snow and are also breathable at the same time.

Whether your own clothing is suitable and warm enough for a winter run can easily be determined using the following rule of thumb: You should choose a training outfit for an outside temperature that is six to seven degrees warmer than the current one. When taking the first steps outdoors, the runner should still shiver slightly.

Important: Joggers should always avoid the warm air created by the layer principle from escaping around the neck, sleeve or leg opening. If it gets too hot in the meantime, you can cool off with zips on the sleeves or neckline.

The necessary running accessories in winter

The onion look keeps the core of the body (and thus the organs) nice and warm, but the rest of the body must also be prepared for the winter run. Because body heat escapes mainly through the feet, hands and head.

It is therefore worth investing in a special hat, gloves and socks. But even with these running accessories, the rule applies to replace cotton with heat-insulating and breathable outer materials such as microfibres.

Breathable, long underwear for the legs

The legs do most of the work during the winter run. The same principle applies here as for the equipment for the upper body: Breathable, long underwear, leggings as an intermediate layer and pants with a windbreaker function are advisable.

As for running shoes, arguably the most important accessory in jogging is a subject of constant research and development. We have summarized relevant findings on the right running shoes and suitable shoe models for you.

The ideal companions for winter jogging are shoes with as little mesh as possible, i.e. an air-permeable textile mesh fabric from which every jogging shoe is made. Together with a pair of high-quality running socks made of functional fibers, running comfort is ensured even in cold and wet conditions.

Running through snow and ice: protection in extreme temperatures

Fresh snow, mountains of snow, ice or slippery ice can bring any runner to their knees – but only if they are poorly equipped. With the right jogging equipment, running in extreme weather is no problem either. Fixed spikes or flexibly attached snow chains make running shoes tread-resistant, so that even trodden snow is no longer a risk.

Protect your bronchi and lungs from hypothermia! Tubular towels made of fleece or functional fibers are particularly suitable for this. This ring-shaped, tube-like scarf, specially designed for runners and skiers, has proven to be effective protection against the cold. It can be pulled comfortably from the neck to over the nose.

In this way, it not only keeps these particularly cold-sensitive areas of the skin warm, but also preheats the air we breathe, which is gentle on the lungs and bronchi. Because ice-cold winter air irritates the respiratory tract, which especially favors colds.

Protect your skin from UV radiation in winter

The skin of the face also needs an extra dose of attention and care before the winter run. You are well protected with a fatty „wind and weather“ cream. If possible, it should not contain any water and should offer reliable UV protection that is as high as possible.

Because the sun shines even on cold winter days. When the snow then reflects the rays, the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays increase. As is well known, this in turn leads to premature aging of the skin and the formation of wrinkles.

Running at night and in fog – more safety through visibility

As for pedestrians and cyclists, the top priority for runners is to remain visible to other road users at all times. Because whoever crosses the street dressed in black – perhaps still with a hood – can easily be overlooked by approaching vehicles.

Therefore, runners should not only think of reflective utensils in the evening during the dull winter time, but also during the day. A whole range of aids, including attachable LED lights, buckles, gaiters, vests and light strips, ensure optimal protection.

Good reflectors ensure more visibility

Instead of conventional reflectors, sporting goods manufacturers are now relying on 360-degree reflectors or the so-called „3M Scotchlite technology“. Thanks to this all-round light protection, joggers are clearly visible even in complete darkness, as numerous tests have shown.

Even in heavy rain or snowfall, the reflectors of running jackets shine with a 3M coating. So runners do not need direct incidence of light and are still highly reflective over long distances.

The headlamp is a gadget with double advantages: The light draws attention to the runner and at the same time illuminates the immediate surroundings. Since the lamp is attached to the head with straps, the runner has his hands free and can concentrate fully on his run.