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Cold and Exercise

Like all mammals, humans are homeothermic—in other words, body systems are designed to operate effectively and safely within a narrow range of temperatures. Under resting conditions, a person can achieve thermal equilibrium at environmental temperatures as low as 5±C simply by increasing the amount of clothing that is worn. However, problems become more likely when exercising in cold air or cold water. Effects of cold exposure may be general or local. Moderate general cooling can have an adverse impact on tissue viscosity and thus physical performance, and there are dangers to health if a measure of deep-body temperature, such as the rectal temperature, drops below 95.0±F (35.0±C). Local temperatures at the skin surface can drop substantially lower, but tissue damage results as the cells reach ...

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