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A Heads Up for Soccer in Winter

Dress warmly, but not too warmly, if you're kicking about in colder climes.

SATURDAY, Jan. 1, 2005 (HealthDayNews) -- Cold weather isn't a huge danger when it comes to playing soccer because generally, you're not outside long enough for hypothermia or frostbite to set in.

Plus, your body usually produces enough heat to balance out the effects of the elements.

Still, there are precautions you can take to make sure you stay injury free and play as efficiently as in other seasons. Even Pele had to take the temperature into account when playing in northern climes.

Here's what you can do:

  • Dress warmly but not too warmly. According to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, you should dress as if the outside temperature was 10 degrees warmer than it actually is. One way to stay comfortable in fluctuating temperatures is by wearing layers. Not only do the layers trap warm air between them, but if you start sweltering, you can just remove the topmost layer. Make sure the innermost layer is made of a fabric that wicks sweat away from your skin.
  • When it's really cold out, add a hat and gloves. The hat is especially important: you can lose up to 30 percent of your body heat through your head. You can also wear a hat when warming up, then take it off when your body heats up.
  • Drink enough fluids. Dehydration is a risk even in the winter.
  • Make sure you warm up adequately as the risk of injury can increase in the cold. Don't pause between warming up and playing.
  • Stretch both before and after playing.

More information

Additional insight is available at the U.S. Youth Soccer organization.

SOURCE: National Soccer Coaches Association
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