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It's too cold!

It's getting cooler and so is the temptation for being outside. It's time to decide to hunker down or find the right clothes to be able to enjoy being outside no matter what the temperature.

I used to say that I thrived in the summer time and I did not particularly enjoy the cold. I have a mild case of Raynauds' syndrome. This means my hands and feet get a little colder than they should. Rather than suffer through winters, I made a decision that I would learn to love them.

Dress for success! To be in the cold, dress to be warm! We lose heat through sweating, exposure of hands and feet and through our heads. Therefore, to warm up to being outside in the cold, where thin clothes close to your body and thicker layers on top. These layers can be shed once you warm up a bit. Wear a thick hat! Where gloves! Hat and gloves can also be shed and added again easily to regulate temperature.

Zippers! I love zippers! Zippers on outer layers have made it very easy to regulate body temperature without removing and putting back on the layers.

Hoods are also great! They can keep the wind from getting between our hats and jackets. They can fit under a helmet if necessary. When the temperature starts to dip or I am transitioning from the top of a mountain to going down hill during a hike, I use a hood to capture the heat that may have escaped through my neck or my head. This usually helps to increase my temperature until I am out of the wind at the top of a mountain or have warmed back up through movement.

Since I made the decision to enjoy winter and learned to dress for the cold, I was able to care for dogs by getting them outside each day of their lives. I kept them active - thirteen years for one dog and fifteen for the other. This taught me that we can reduce the impact of weather with the right preparation.

I am a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club's 4000 footers club. I have hiked many of the New Hampshire 4000 footers, explored the Canadian Rockies, Aspen and other mountain areas in the winter. There was a time when I didn't know if I could handle the cold while hiking in the winter. Now, it is hard for me to tell which is my favorite season. I enjoy them all!

Keeping active inside and out will also help you burn calories and keep your body warm this winter.

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