Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

When A Cooldown Is Undesirable

A matter of degree

Q: I recently ran my first half-marathon. The day was cool, between 40 and 50 degrees. After the race I had my temperature taken in the medical tent. It was 96 degrees. I never got too warm during the race and at times I felt cool. My normal temperature is 98.6 degrees. Tonight. after running five miles at an eight-minute pace, my temperature was 97.6 degrees. Should I be concerned about this lowered body temperature? If so, what can I do to correct it?

Lincoln, NE

A: In cold weather, lowered body temperature, or hypothermia, is always something to be aware of. Although you may have thought this a problem for skiers or mountain climbers, it actually can be a problem at sea level and in temperatures as high as 50 degrees if the conditions are wet and windy. In severe cases the body's core temperature drops uncontrollably, and without prompt medical attention, it can result in death.

Normal human body temperature ranges from 96.5 to 100 degrees. Mild hypothermia begins at 95 degrees. The initial symptoms of hypothermia are feelings of uncomfortable cold and numbness; then shivering. If shivering doesn't work to raise body temperature, loss of coordination, mental disorientation, and slurred speech soon follow. If you sense any of these early symptoms, get out of the wind to a warm, dry place as soon as possible.

If you continue to exercise to a state of disorientation, you may end up making a foolish decision that will get you into more serious trouble. However, it is possible to exercise safely even in freezing temperatures if you wear the proper clothing, such as wool socks, mittens, and a windbreaker.

New synthetic materials wick sweat away from your body and decrease heat loss. It's very important to wear a hat to keep in the heat produced by the high amount of blood flow to the scalp. If the weather is severe, you may want to cut your disance in half and run it twice, so if you start to feel too cold you aren't so far from home.

As in many other areas, common sense prevails. If you feel chilled during a workout and are unable to warm up, either return for more protection or cancel your workout and start drinking warm beverages, take a warm bath, or cuddle up to your favorite loved one in front of a big fire.

For more information see this article on hypothermia.

About the authors: Carol L. Otis, M.D., is Chief Medical Advisor to the Sanex WTA and a UCLA student health physician. Roger Goldingay is a former professional soccer player. They are married and the co-authors of The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

General Health
Common Medical Problems
Dental Health
Infectious Disease
Sexual Health
Emotional Well-Being
Eating Disorders
Alcohol & Other Drugs
Environmental Health

The information in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not providing medical or professional advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have or suspect you might have any health problems, you should consult a physician.

Copyright 2000 - Sports Doctor, Inc.