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Is Running in the Cold Dangerous?

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Is the burning sensation you feel in your lungs during cold-weather workouts dangerous? Our fitness expert addresses your concerns about running workouts in the winter.
Question: "My lungs burn when I run in cold weather. Is this dangerous?"

Answer: No. It's just because the air you're breathing is colder than the air in your lungs, says Kara Gallagher, PhD, an exercise physiologist at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. As your lungs work to warm incoming air, you may feel a burning sensation caused by rapid water loss, says Gallagher. It might be irritating, but it doesn't pose a threat to your health, she says. Try wearing a light scarf or bandanna around your nose and mouth when exercising in the cold to "trap" some of the moisture lost in exhaled air.

Originally published in Fitness magazine, January 2006.


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lwheeler16 wrote:

There's actually a new ski mask that was made by an outdoor athlete and a doctor. It kind of makes you look like Darth Vader, but the mouthpiece causes the air you inhale to be moisturized. If you google "vader ski mask" you can find it.

2/9/2010 04:56:42 PM Report Abuse
rtoshum wrote:

I run year round. I think your body does have to adjust to the weather changes in general. But if you are prepared for the weather you will be fine.

2/9/2010 02:53:22 PM Report Abuse
richard.laird1 wrote:

It can cause a Asthma attack to flare up.Have seen it in many Asthma Pt.

2/9/2010 01:45:37 PM Report Abuse
onyxtango wrote:

I always cough for days after running in the cold, which tells me it's not good for me to run in the cold. I agree with hudnbrodiesmom--listen to your body.

2/9/2010 12:25:17 PM Report Abuse
amaza.a.reitmeier wrote:

I love winter running!! And as a bonus you burn extra calories. I don't run in extremely cold weather, but anything above 10 degrees is fantastic for getting out and enjoying the winter!

2/9/2010 11:42:56 AM Report Abuse

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