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Overdressed Exercising

November 26, 1987|Associated Press

NEW YORK — Cold-weather athletes who bundle up to exercise may be increasing their risk of injury, according to physicians at New York University Medical Center.

"Wearing too many clothes when you exercise can lead to hypothermia, a sudden loss of body heat that can result in shock and heart failure," said Dr. William Bernhard, associate professor of anesthesiology at the center. "Overdressed athletes sweat and dampen their undergarments. Once wet, the clothes lose their insulating quality and facilitate the loss of body heat rather than prevent it."

Bernhard suggests layering clothing, taking off outer garments before sweating and replacing them during the cool-down. "Remember, you should feel cool when beginning to exercise," he said.

Other guidelines for cold-weather athletes include keeping clothing clean and dry to protect its insulating qualities; choosing fabrics specifically formulated to guard against hypothermia, such as polypropylene and olefin; and bringing along an extra pair of dry socks and gloves or mittens to replace those that become wet.

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