Last week, you may have seen my episode about how I ran up the Manitou Incline in the snow and it thrashed my lungs. I mean, just tore me up. And you may be wondering, is running in the cold, bad for me? Well, I'm Jesse Funk and on today's episode of Runner’s High, we're going to talk about whether running the call is better for you and doesn't actually affect your lungs.
When it's cold outside, sometimes it's nice just to hang by the fire like this, and you just don't want to go outside. But the truth is, I know you, you know me, we're going outside. We're getting our gear on, no matter how cold it is we're going outside and we're going to go for a run. Well, just like I was talking about in my adventures going out to the Manitou Incline, sometimes that can have terrible, terrible consequences. And what happened with me, I ended up kind of going up the incline, having mucus coming out of me, both my nose and my mouth as I'm coughing up, all these kinds of bad things and then my lungs feeling absolutely terrible. If you haven't seen that video, subscribe to the channel and go check that out here in a minute.
But in my follow up, I actually talked about that running in the cold is bad for your lungs. This is my video where I talked about the various clothing you need to wear in different temperatures. But as I said it, I thought to myself, you know, I actually haven't verified that. It's just something my coaches used to say and I've always got along with. But I kind of took a moment and said, wait, maybe you should check with physicians and see, is that really a thing? So, this week, I've actually done my homework and figured out is running the cold, really bad for you, what does somebody medically qualified actually have to say about this?
As it turns out, running in the cold actually can be problematic and can be damaging to our lungs and our system, but not in the way that you think it is. The cold actually isn't the problem at all. The problem is that along with cold air, it is often dry air as well. And it’s that dry air that creates problems. What I found out is that cold air isn't really an issue because the cold air gets warmed up as we breathe it in through our nose, through our mouth. As it goes through our airways into our lungs, it is warmed up, it's not going to freeze your lungs. That's not the problem at all. So, the whole idea about cold air being the problem is kind of bunk'd. But again, because cold air is often dry, the dry air is what gets to you. And that's what gets me in particular.
What happens is it as you're breathing in all that dry air, that can make your airways constrict, which means you're getting less air in and can induce a kind of exercise asthma. And this is for people that don't even have asthma to begin with. There was a study done this, happens with winter athletes more particularly, which makes sense because they're out in the cold more. But there was a study done on Nordic skiers and at least half of these elite Nordic skiers and this kind of cough they developed because of this cold, dry air. Not necessarily just cold, but the dry part is what was kind of inducing this exercise asthma.
And that's what happened to me on the Manitou Incline, I believe. As I was going up, I was breathing then I was hacking up mucus, which is a combination of both the dry air constricting my airways, and the kind of sinus issues I deal with. All year I had these kind of all year round allergies I deal with. And those two things together, made for a difficult time along with I believe I was getting sick going into the run. So, all three of those things together made it a very challenging time for me.
So, the solution to our particular problem is to wear a mask, you know, have something over our mouth. And it isn't the cold where someone's trying to make it here, but again, the dry air. So, when we wear that mask, we actually trap moisture behind the mask in our mouth. So, when we're breathing that dry air in moisture gets in it, but it's kind of filtered through the moisture as it goes into our airways, into our lungs. And then that dry air doesn't affect us so much.
So, I think we can definitively say that running in the cold is not bad for you. It's not the cold that is the problem, it's the dry air that we have to mitigate. So, when we take precautions like wearing that mask when it is colder because of that dry air, then we can mitigate any kind of problems we're going to have from running outside in the cold. So, I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.