Cold hands, warm heart… not!

I sometimes say, “You can take the boy out of the prairie but you can’t take the prairie out of the boy.” But that’s really only trying to put a positive spin on working in the cold. The truth is, we get cold like everyone else. Our studio is set at about minus 8 degrees with a strong wind chill (five 12” fans). Walk in there without proper clothing and you will retreat pretty quickly. Water freezes, hands freeze, feet freeze… you get the message. IT’S COLD! So how do we do it?

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I mentioned proper clothing. Layers are good because you can add as much as you want. But you can also unlayer when you get too warm from the physical work. Proper insulated footwear and warm waterproof gloves go a long way as well. But as necessary and important as these things are there is one thing that is even more important. And that’s getting and keeping your core temperature warm. What do I mean? Your fingers and toes will only keep warm if the inside of you is warm. If you’re shivering it’s game over. So here’s some tips to getting and keeping your core temperature warm:

  1. Eat a good breakfast. The furnace can only get fired up if you put coal into it.
  2. Dress up for the freezer a little while before you actually enter. Get warm enough that you’re actually looking forward to the cooler temperature.
  3. If that doesn’t do it, stoke the fire by running five times around the building.
  4. Take a hot drink with you into the freezer. There’s some great insulated mugs out there.
  5. Don’t stand around. The sooner you get physical the sooner the blood starts to pump all that warm core to your extremities.
  6. The first 15 are the worst. Wrap/flail your arms around your shoulders vigorously 10-15 times. That forces the blood out from the center as well.

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It’s pretty standard experience to be uncomfortable for the first 15-20 minutes but then I’ve routinely gone 6-8 hours without feeling cold. After that there’s the tingle to your face, a sense of real accomplishment and guarantee of a good night’s sleep.

Stay tuned for more from #theicemen…