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Cold weather excercise considerations for people with lower core body tempuratures(14 posts)

Cold weather excercise considerations for people with lower core body tempuraturesKristin
Nov 21, 2002 6:34 AM
I've always wondered about this, and read and article today asserting that hypothermia sets in when the bodies core temperature falls below 98.6 degrees. Well that means I've been hypothermic my entire natural life. You see, my normal tempurature is 97.6 degrees...and because I'm a woman, half of the time my tempurature is between 96.6 & 97.6. I've always been extremely sensitive to the cold and, since I turned 20, have had notable trouble keeping my fingers and toes warm in the winter--and that's when I'm inside by the fire!

I keep reading that hypothermia can kill you. Is this to say that it can kill me like getting food poisoning can kill can but only in rare, extreme cases? Will my lower normal body temp affect my ability to cycle outside in the winter? Do I need to take extra precautions?
re: Cold weather excercise considerations for people with lower core body tempuraturesBigLeadOutGuy
Nov 21, 2002 6:44 AM
Not everyones core temp will be 98.6 degrees...some people have alittle higher or a little lower core temp. and it's normal...I dont recall the acceptable limit of variation but I think 1 degree is ok.
If it makes you feel better I have the same thing you do...even if im inside my hands and feet always get cold sometimes numb. Just wear a heavy enough glove and shoe to keep them warm when it gets cold. and a death from hypothermia doesnt sneek up on pretty sure its a loooong slow process of freezing to death outside in the cold for hours on end...but i could be wrong.
but for a quick fix, just move to a warmer state =)
Yes, its in the works. North Caroline, here I come! (nm)Kristin
Nov 21, 2002 6:52 AM
Can I Go Too? I Dont Like It Here Anymore!! n/mBigLeadOutGuy
Nov 21, 2002 7:01 AM
where in NC?_rt_
Nov 21, 2002 10:06 AM
i just recently moved from durham nc to hot-lanta.

it's warmer in NC than up north but i still had trouble keeping my hands & feet warm on winter rides. my core body temp sits right at 98.6 but i'm pretty sure that i just don't have enough blood to keep both my hands and my feet warm at the same time. if one is warm the other is cold. (currently sitting at my desk with my shoes off & my feet tucked under me to keep them warm)

Normal? Body temperatureIronbutt
Nov 21, 2002 3:07 PM

I'm not at all sure that ambient temperature will help you much. I live in Davie, a little town west of Fort Lauderdale. Our high today was about 81 and I was never really comfortable. My usual body temperature is 96.8 and I really suffer when the ambient temperature is below 60. Most of my friends are still in short sleeved jerseys and I'm in long sleeves, thermal undershirt and tights. And it takes me about 5 miles to warm up to a comfortable temperature. Maybe you should move from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale? Great riding here!
I'm with BLOG, you're normal.Scot_Gore
Nov 21, 2002 7:21 AM
Your cold hands and feet may have more to do with circulation than core body temperture. My wife has 'normal' core body temp but her vascular system (her whole families really) dosn't move nice warm blood from the hot core to the cooling fringes very well. Her hands and feet are always cold. She's been having small corrective surgeries the last 2 years to "open" the flow. Her doctors concerned that she could eventually (30+ years from now or so) lose the use of her legs if the problems not addressed.

You might ask your doctor for a referral to a Vein doctor. There's not many of them so you pretty much have to ask to see one before you get a referral (unless you're dying).

Hypothermia is a condition not a sickness. Hypothermia would be slow when brought on by bike riding in cold conditions. It can be fast. Up here, this time of year we thin the herd (Darwin style) with hypothermia that sets in fast.
"hey, that ice looks plenty thick to walk on, let's go"

good luck

I'm hypothermic, tooms
Nov 21, 2002 7:40 AM
My normal body temperature is about 97.2 degrees. Every time that a new doctor or nurse takes my temperature, they look at the thermometer and then say that they need to take my temperature again. Then I ask whether the reading is 97.2 -- they look surprised, I then tell then that nothing is wrong with the thermometer, I just have a lower body temperature.

Unlike you, I do not have cold fingers or toes. My reactions to heat and cold usually are about the same as more warm blooded humans (my lower temperature has been the source of jokes in my family about my being "cold blooded"). As long as you dress appropriately for the cold, you should not have any problems. They key is dressing appropriately. There have been a few times (not on a bike) when I have felt hypothermic. But each time was one in which I went from a heated area to a cold area without my putting on a coat or other weather-appropriate gear. The only time that I felt hypothermic on a bike was when I was on a long ride in the summer and the weather changed from the low 70s to the mid-50s and began to rain. I did not have any rain gear. After 22 miles of cold rain, I was shivering and not feeling too well. All of the other guys on the ride (who I assume have "normal" body temperatures) felt the same way as I did.

I will ride on sunny days in temperatures as low as 25 degrees without any problems. This past weekend, I did 28 miles in at 42 degrees in the rain and felt a little warm (I was overdressed). The bottom line: you really are not that different from everyone else and you should be able to ride safely in winter if you want to do so (and have proper gear).
Another sub-normaldzrider
Nov 21, 2002 8:05 AM
My "normal" temp isn't quite up to normal either. I tolerate the cold quite well although my hands and feet don't do as well as they did years ago. Lots of guys may age make the same complaint, so I'm not sure it's related to my core temp.

One docctor asked if I sweat a lot in hot weather, and I do, enough that fellow riders called me the Rain Man. He advised that my body may be working too hard to maintain it's cooler temperature and that I should be extra careful about drinking enough.
Hot weather reactionms
Nov 21, 2002 8:32 AM
I, too, sweat a lot when the temperatures hit the 90s. For example, in the summer I have to wash my helmet regularly because of the salt deposits on the straps. Also, I drink about twice as much as my friends do when we are on a ride on a hot summer day. When the temperatures are in the mid-80s and below, my perspiring and need to drink goes down to normal (i.e., no different from other people with whom I ride). Maybe Kristin's concern (and ours) should not be cold weather riding, but hot weather riding.
re: Cold weather excercise considerations for people with lower core body tempuraturesSkidoo
Nov 21, 2002 8:18 AM
The "normal" core body temp. range of 98.5 is an average and it is normal for every individual to show some variation around that temp. within +/- 1 degree. Also the core temp. will vary according to gender, percentage of body fat, menstral cycle, activity level and even the time of day.

Hypothermia occurs when your core body temperature becomes abnormally low as a result of the body losing heat faster than it can be produced by muscle contractions and metabolism. This leads to shivering, clumsiness, poor judgment, and cold, pale, or bluish skin. Hypothermia is more than just feeling cold in your extremities and in fact, hypothermic people will often shed clothing as a consequence of the cold affecting their judgement.

In your condition, feeling cold in your extremities may lead to frostbite or frostnip- the freezing of the skin. This is more likely to occur on the bike than hypothermia.
In any case, during winter exercise, avoid exposing skin to cold, wind or moisture, wear layers of clothing instead of a single bulky coat, and stay well nourished and hydrated.
All you guys should move out here to California!Ken of Fresno
Nov 21, 2002 9:32 AM
Comfy 70 degrees today. Losts of great cycling year round. Come on! It'll make ya feel good. Come on! Everybody else is doin' it.

went from hermosa beach to the northeastBigLeadOutGuy
Nov 21, 2002 11:59 AM
an I am totally hating it here!
you cant beat the 75 degrees and sunny all year round of socal...Unfortunatley due to circumstances beyond my control I am now in the northeast for awhile. And lemme tell you it gets damn cold in winter =(
Nov 21, 2002 10:21 AM
98.6 F degrees is normal, but a degree or two below that isn't anything to be alarmed about. Hypothermia is generally considered to begin when the core temperature is below 35 C, that is 95 F. Also, not to be crude, but the only really accurate measure of core body temp is rectal, eww (one learns these things, with babies in the house). Check it out at

Your cold hands and feet are more likely related to circulation problems than anything else. My wife has similar issues, when I'm comfortably wearing a single layer of fleece gloves, she's wearing polypro gloves under fleece mittens under Gore-tex mittens..

Just dress for the conditions, should be fine. Lots of layers and no cotton is the starting point.

Proceed according to the guidelines of symptoms rather than your body temp in case of doubt. These from the Search and Rescue society of British Columbia:
Impending Hypothermia:
Due to physiological, medical, environmental, or other factors the person's core temperature has decreased to 36 degrees Celcius. The person will increase activity in an attempt to warm up. The skin may become pale, numb and waxy. Muscles become tense, shivering may begin but can be overcome by activity. Fatigue and signs of weakness begin to show.
Mild Hypothermia:
The person has now become a victim of hypothermia. The core temper-ature has dropped to 35 - 34 degrees Celcius. Uncontrolled, intense shivering begins. The victim is still alert and able to help self, however movements become less coordinated and the coldness is creating some pain and discomfort.
Moderate Hypothermia:
The victim's core temperature has now dropped to 33 - 31 degrees Celcius. Shivering slows or stops, muscles begin to stiffen and mental confusion and apathy sets in. Speech becomes slow, vague and slurred, breathing becomes slower and shallow, and drowsiness and strange behavior may occur.
Severe Hypothermia:
Core temperature now below 31 degrees Celcius. Skin is cold, may be bluish- gray in color, eyes may be dilated. Victim is very weak, displays a marked lack of coordination, slurred speech, appears exhausted, may appear to be drunk, denies problem and may resist help. There is a gradual loss of consciousness. There may be little or no apparent breathing, victim may be very rigid, unconscious, and may appear dead.