Who hasn’t wished to work outdoors on a beautiful warm day? Would you want that same job during the frigid winter months? My first professional position after college was with the National Park Service. Unfortunately, I was unprepared for the challenges of working outdoors in cold weather. Luckily, my savvy winter co-workers made sure that I stayed safe. I learned that the key to working outdoors in the Winter is figuring out how to keep warm. This article gives some tips on how to maintain proper body heat when working outside in winter.
Dressing to conserve body heat is an essential rule for working outside in cold weather. Body heat escapes quickly through an uncovered head and bare hands. You will stay much warmer if you make sure to wear a winter hat and gloves. Glove liners provide additional warmth. Make sure to layer your clothing. If you’re working in see your breath kind of weather, insulated coveralls are worth the investment. Keep your toes toasty with wool socks. Do not leave your house without a good scarf.
You’ll need a warm space for breaks. It is an excellent benefit if the rest area allows you to take your outerwear off. Depending on your work, the rest area is in everything from inside a building to a car. The location of it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it is warm enough that you can remove your outerwear and relax during breaks.
Cold Weather Diet
Your body requires extra fuel in cold weather. Winter is not the time to reduce calories! Instead, feed your body by including plenty of energy-rich foods and hot drinks in your diet. Professional construction workers rely on staples such as hot soup, trail mix, hot tea, and hot cocoa for snacks. Meals often consist of warm, calorie-heavy fare like warm pasta. It’s a good idea to eat multiple times throughout the day rather than just at lunch. Experts suggest avoiding caffeine.
A unique challenge to cold weather outdoor work is keeping dry. Wet clothes will cause you to lose body heat. It is imperative that you remove wet clothes as soon as possible. Professional construction sites usually include a storage area for extra clothes. Storing extra clothes on the worksite reduces lost work time. No matter what your work setting, pack a bag with extra clothes.
Treat your skin to a spa experience. The regular application of a protective layer of skin creams and lip balm help to guard against frostbite. A friend of mine keeps lip balm in her pocket and makes sure to reapply it whenever she takes a sip of water.
All in all, it is possible to work outdoors in cold weather. The most important thing to remember is to stay warm. The careful planning it takes to design a cold weather work strategy will keep you safe and warm no matter how low the temperature reads.