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The Side Stitch

Thursday, 06 April 2017 by

Not easy to see, impossible to anticipate, the stitch is still the fellow of many runners.

It’s usually located along the ribs, most often on the left flank. However, it’s possible to have a stitch along the acromion. Be careful! You mustn’t confuse the different zones. Indeed, a stitch is located on the left side (the breath) whereas a pain on the right side is a liver one.

But where does it come from?

Origins of the stitch

 

Side stitch - woman runner side cramps. Marathon.

 

Despite advanced studies, the causes that encourage the emergence of the pain are still unknown. The diaphragm muscle cramps, due to an oxygenation default throughout a physical effort, (if you chat with your pal while running for example) have been held responsible for a long time. But recent studies have shown that there weren’t any growth of spams along the diaphragm when a runner suffer from a stitch.

A new theory states that a bad posture could result in a stitch. Indeed, an excessive camber of the spine could spearhead breathing issues, which can lend to its emergence (we did tell you to stand straight…). However, this information has to be taken for what it’s worth: it’s still an assumption!

It is also possible that its emergence could be due to massive blood surge along the spleen and the liver, leading to a breathing mechanism disorder.

So basically, its origin isn’t very clear. But we do know a few things for sure:

  • Nutrition can be an influencing factor of the emergence of a side stitch. Indeed, a diet that is rich in fat and fibre can encourage their development. To be safe, you should follow the 3 hours rule: it’s the time you should after a meal, before making an effort (as in, running or working out -don’t make it an excuse to be lazy ;)). That will ensure a good digestion and avoid these types of pains.
  • The warm up has to be done It is advisable to start with a fast walk before gently increasing your speed to reach the desired pace. This is especially important during cold weather and for beginners. Your warm up should last for about 10 minutes in order to avoid having a stitch.

 

 

So, how can you avoid them?

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Sport backgrounds. Runner. Dramatic scene.

There are several methods you can use to get rid of this inconvenience:

  • Breath in and out through the mouth: the breathing must be coming from the stomach, not the chest. Get that belly out!
  • Try to avoid jerky inhale and exhale breathing! Have a regular breathing, whatever the speed or the intensity of the effort are.
  • If the stitch is still here, stop running for 5 minutes and walk instead; the stitch will eventually disappear and you’ll be able to run again slowly.
  • Otherwise, stop running and exhale all the way out in order to void all the air from your lungs. Your side stitch should be gone. If the pain persists, you should consult your doctor as it may be due to a heart issue.

 

This article is now finished! I hope you enjoyed it and have learned a few things to avoid this bad boy!

What are your techniques to get rid of your stitch? Make sure to share your tips 😉

See you soon, you running maniacs!

Source: our amazing biomechanics team.

How to improve your stride?

Friday, 10 March 2017 by

Among runners, some have only one thing in mind: to constantly improve and surpass themselves to face harder or more exciting challenges. More than a motor, it has become their reason to run!

So you can start working on your endurance, breathing or your ability to run 30 minutes without losing a lung… But did you know that you could also work on your stride?
I can already hear you complain “it’s too hard”, “it’s impossible”, “if you run with a specific kind of stride, you can’t change it with a finger snap”….

Well no. Anyone can change his/her stride, no matter what your objectives are.

First of all, it is true that improving your stride is a long process and that you have to spend a lot of time on it, but you must not give up. It is worth it: you’ll see how much progress you’re going to make.

Without further ado, here is a list of exercises and little tips to help you refine your stride!

Why improving your stride?

 

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It is an important step for anyone wishing to see an improvement in their performances. Having an efficient stride is one of the hardest objective to achieve in the field of running, but it will really be beneficial in the long run (no pun intended). The final goal will be to cover a distance you’re familiar with, but faster.

First, let’s define what a stride is. It is characterized by two phases: one when the foot is on the ground and the other when it’s aloft. The phase when the foot is in contact with the ground is also characterised by 2 different stages: the first one is a “fight” between the body and the compression due to gravity. The second one is the alleviation of the body due to the thrust, called propulsion.

You may have guessed it, our foot acts like a spring with each step.
Having an effective stride therefore means using and controlling this natural spring effect.

To get to this perfect stride, the ideal will be to adopt a forefoot walk, to increase your running frequency and to reach the 170-180 steps per minutes. Roughly speaking, try to adopt a more aerial stride: stroke the path on which you run with your foot.
To help you switch from a terrestrial stride to an aerial one, you can go for the Scooter technique: the aim is to hit the ground with a flat foot. Then, you push your sporting leg backwards. It will allow you to work on your cushion and to have more aerial returns.

So how can you set up this technique?
Two solutions: either you ride a scooter (no kidding!) or you run with your legs stretched. Yes you read me well: stretched legs. It’s a bit hard at first, but you’ll quickly get used to it. By running like that, you will have to use all your joints for cushion and to propel your body.
You will see that, slowly but surely, your stride will be further away from the ground. Bye-bye heel, say hello to steps as graceful as a dancer’s!

I think you’ve understood that improving your stride will allow you to get better performances. But it also influences other characteristics, such as your amplitude.
But what is the amplitude? It is the distance you make with each step. To give you an idea, Olympic champions have a frequency of 180 strides per minute!!

To help you change your amplitude, you first have to define a frequency rate. Have a good warm up, and increase your amplitude each kilometre. Count your steps, multiply them by two and write down your score. Speed up: your cadence must absolutely follow the same rhythm.
This little tip aims at helping you setting a point to reach and stick to. With some training, you should be able to run with this new frequency. Thus, you may constantly surpass your limits!

 

Exercises that work to improve your stride

 

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I can already hear you say « ok, nice advices but I want exercises that really work ». No problem, I will give you a little checklist of damn good techniques.

First, you can try to do some bouncing stride to get your body used to realizing longer and more efficient strides. Start slowly and then gradually lengthen your strides.

In the same idea, you can try jumping rope or cladding. Vertical elasticity exercises are also efficient.

A useful technique to help you change your stride is to go for a “minimalist” transition (running with shoes that have a small cushioning to really feel the ground): perfect to strengthen your foot arch. Efficient and non-traumatic, your body will thus fully participate to the movement: this is what we call a total stroke. But please, take it easy!

You don’t have to go through a minimalist transition to improve though. It’s up to you.

Another nice exercise consists in running barefoot to really feel the contact with the ground and thus work on the front cycle. To do this, it is really important to position your body the right way: you should have an up-down and front-rear support. Relax your shoulders. Your knees, ankles and hips have to be aligned. Coordinate your upper limbs with your lower limbs. You’ll see, it’s not that complicated.

If you are looking to refine your stride and gain speed, I’ve got what you need. Favour over-speed exercises (on 6% descending semi-flat path) and overload exercises (perfect to gain muscles). This will not only force your body to expand and broaden your stride, but also to slowly adapt to this new kind of stride. Nothing but positive results.

I’ve saved the best for last, of course. The best of the best exercises to improve your stride. The only “problem” is that these require to go to specific areas to train in the best way possible.

The best places and techniques to improve your stride.

 

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Let’s get down to business. The most efficient techniques.

In order to increase the size of your stride, the must have is to run on inclined surfaces (it forces you to broaden your stride and to reach farther ahead) or running with a resistance on your back (you will have to push harder on your legs).

Why is it that good? For several reasons:

  • You don’t need specific equipements
  • You therefore don’t need to set up any equipment (amIright?)
  • It’s safe
  • You can do it all by yourself

You just have to find the right inclined surface: it must be smooth, free of any stones or damages and more than anything it must be long enough for you to run at least 50 or 100 meters without any obstacle.

Here is the top 3 of the best surfaces to carelessly work on your stride:

  • Parking or Garage Ramps: easy to find, they have a good tilt. However, some of them can be private… so inaccessible.
  • Hills: they are very good areas, with a more than satisfying tilt. But here is a little problem: the slope is often irregular and you therefore have a higher risk of hurting yourself.
  • Inclined Treadmills: useful, you can change the tilt angle and the speed, monitor your heart rate etc. Thus, you will be able to keep an eye on your physical condition during your training. Moreover, you will not suffer from climate risks. Always a plus.

I would like to briefly come back to the hills to give you a very efficient exercise: sprints on steep hills.
Let’s make things clear now. Do not abuse of it during your first session!

This technique leads to a lot of stress in the muscles and connective tissues. If you push too hard from the beginning, you risk getting strains or problems in the tendons. However, once you get used to this exercise, these regular sprints will protect you from injuries.

During your very first session, sprint twice for 8 seconds each time. Space out your sessions of at least 3 days in the beginning, in order to acclimate your body to this effort.
Then, increase your sessions’ frequency (to two sessions per week).

Your sprints should last 10 seconds now. After a few weeks of training, make 10 to 12 sprints of 12 seconds. Be aware of the recovery time between the sprints! Walk slowly. It will prevent you from getting hurt.

Improving one’s stride:  an impossible challenge?

 

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One more time: no.
We can all change our stride. It is a real long term project though: you have to work on your heart rate, your musculature… In fact, it’s like relearning to run. Obviously if you don’t have the required motivation, don’t even think about doing it.

However, I can give you a few more tips. The first one is the following: there is no need to be only committed to this. It should be almost unconscious.

“Wait, what?” may say the most amazed of you. Let me explain. There are techniques that will almost automatically trigger your stride’s improvement. Among these techniques stand stretches or hip-flexing exercises. You have to feel the stretch in your hip. Really, really feel it.

Likewise there are plenty of harmless little exercises that will allow you to improve without forcing it:

  • Knees raises (work on hips and reinforce the push),
  • Butt kicks (allow you to have a better extension. Then again, it has to really stretch),
  • Jumping rope,

 

 

This article is now finished, I hope you enjoyed it!

 

And you, what are your tricks and tips to improve your stride?

 

See you soon, you running maniacs!

 

Sources : Running Addict, Entrainement Sportif, We love Sport, How do I run faster, Active, Men’s Fitness.

What should I eat after a run?

Monday, 30 January 2017 by

 

Imagine just a second. You get up, the weather is nice and hot, you put on your running shoes and you go running for 30mn or more. You come back home after your session, you feel fine. You ran well and you made a good performance. But running like this will probably work up quite an appetite! The problem is that you are tired after your run.

You are so exhausted and you are not brave enough to get out of your sofa to cook. You are really hungry though. You notice that your smartphone is within reach, you grasp it. You are doing something irreparable: you’re ordering a pizza.

And you really enjoy it. The only problem is that you not only devour as many calories as you’ve just burnt with your run, but in addition you are ruining your recovery time. Ouch.

Don’t worry though, this kind of situation is extremely rare. Nevertheless, there are some “rules” that must be respected in order to optimize your recovery time by eating the right things after a run. I assume that some of the food I am going to quote can seem unappetizing but I will give you some tips to make them taste as good as they feel for your body.

Without further ado, here is what you should eat after a run… Let’s go!

A little reminder on the importance of recovery time

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Let’s make things clear: the post-run nutrition is very important. It must allow you not only to improve your performances, but also to recover well in order to avoid aches such as cramps, soreness, etc. that could become hinders to your next runs.

Actually, the nutrition is an integral part of the training, hence the importance taking good habits fast. Moreover, building your running planning according to what you are going to eat after each run and at what time, will allow you to, among other things:

  • Have better performances
  • Reduce the risk of injury
  • Maximize your results.

If you skip a meal after a run, you risk having hypoglycaemia for the rest of the day, or even becoming nauseous. You also increase the risk of getting hurt during the following session. Not really enticing.

Don’t worry, I will give you all the necessary elements to recover as quickly as possible.

The key to optimize at best your recovery time is to adapt your post-run lunch according to the kind of training you’re going to do.

 After a short run, you should ideally eat your snack or your lunch one hour maximum after the workout. Prefer food full of carbohydrates, proteins or of electrolyte (such as vegetables), so that your muscles will quickly regenerate.

If you went for a speed work training, you should eat half an hour after the run. The priority is to supply as fast as possible the muscles with lipids (a toast with some butter), carbohydrates (pasta), and proteins (eggs) to recover in the best way.

Finally, after a long run, like with the speed work, you have to take a snack within the 30min following your run: you must ingest at least 200 calories and if possible, eat an avocado or nuts (which reduce inflammations caused by the continuous trampling). You should have your lunch an hour after the run and have a little snack every two hours, to recover in the best conditions.

If you have knots in your stomach, wait at least an hour before eating: allow your body some time to rest. Wait until you get hungry for lunch.

Another critical point of your recovery time -you know it, I often speak about it- it is hydration. Essential, it must be regular (as you know before, during and after the run), in order to avoid dehydration. Drink, even if you don’t feel the need to. Here is a little tip: drink 15cl for every 15mn of run! If you are thirsty, it means it’s already too late.

For the post-race, I advise you to drink Saint Yorre, full of sodium, which allows to recover the quantity you’ve lost during the race and to decrease the lactic acid rate, induced by the effort. You can also go for sugar water (water with honey), in order to replenish your carbohydrate’s stock. You have to drink it one hour after the race!

You have the basis of nutrition, but you still don’t know what to eat…

What should I eat?

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Once again, you have to pay attention to the timing before eating after a run. At the end of the race, your body has to feed in order to replenish its energy reserves. This is what we called “metabolic window”: this is the moment when the body will absorb food faster and easier than usual. This phenomenon is really important because it will allow you to recover faster and to decrease the rigidity and the aches in the muscles.

So what do we eat? A lot of things in fact!

You have to go for food simultaneously good and useful on a nutritional point of view. You can eat without any guilt:

  • Slow sugars (potatoes, rice, pasta…),
  • Proteins (scrambled eggs, lentil, white meat…)
  • Fast release sugars (honey, bananas, dry fruits…)

You can also combine carbohydrates and proteins for a more efficient recovery time, as it helps the assimilation of glucose in the muscles and the reinforcement of the muscle fibres, damaged by the run.

You also must take into account the importance of snacking, which improves recovery time. Actually, during a race, you lose glucose, water, minerals and the muscles suffer from micro tears. When you eat something after the race, it allows you to replace the nutrients lost and to restore a physiological balance (this is what we called homeostasis), vital for the recovery time. You will also be able to repair the muscle fibres, aching by the run and to decrease the acidity accumulated in the body. Nothing but positive results!

The Digitsole Team really want to see you improving your performances, this is why I’m going to list you the best food for the best recovery time ever.

 

The food you have to eat for an efficient recovery time

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You may have guessed it, the post run lunch aims at filling the organism with a lot of good things, in order to compensate the lost energy. Here is a little selection of the best food to use up to quickly go back for another round!

  • Oat flakes, especially cherished by marathoners. They contain everything you need: carbohydrates, proteins and fibres. Perfect to satisfy your hunger and to decrease the cholesterol rate! Here is a little tip: you can mix them with fruits for extra flavour.
  • Greek yoghourts: full of proteins, you can eat it with honey, almonds and fruits. Tasty and efficient.
  • Hummus (mash of chickpea and sesame): ideal to be filled up with proteins and to unwind yourself.
  • Turkey breast, full of proteins and easy to cook. You can enjoy it with rice and vegetables.
  • Salmon: full of omega-3 and of antioxidants which allow the body to “rest”. You can eat it with pasta, olive oil and asparaguses for an efficient meal.
  • Energy bars: very useful, there is one for every taste!
  • Bananas. This is THE driving force of the athletes and THE basis of the post run lunch. You can eat them alone, in a smoothie, with almond milk, honey, cocoa powder…
  • Fruits: most of the fruits are efficient for a post run snack. You can go for blueberries, grapes, oranges, apples… It can not only satisfy your hunger but it also contains a lot of antioxidants, which can delay Alzheimer’s disease!
  • Almonds: this is THE current trend. They can decrease the cholesterol rate in your blood! You can eat it alone or in a salad, with pasta or mixed in a yoghourt.
  • Finally, the Award of the best post-run food goes to vegetables. They are full of antioxidants, carbohydrates, vitamins… You can eat them without hesitation in a salad, a sandwich with wholemeal bread or alone… There are plenty of recipes to eat your veggies, each as efficient as the last.

 

You can also go for starches, in order to re-boost your muscles, such as pasta, rice, steamed carrots, cereals, wheat germs… But I preferred to expound on this kind of food, which really are the most appropriate for a strong post-run lunch.

These awesome food have, just like super heroes, their Nemesis, some food you must avoid at all cost if you don’t want to ruin all your work. I’ll ask you to ABSOLUTELY avoid eating red meat, anything fried, and dishes in sauce, cheese and chocolate that delay recovery time and that are full of fats.

Recovery time: an essential step to refill one’s lost energy

This is the period that allows you to replenish your energy as quickly as possible for your next run.

Throughout the article, I advised you to eat within 30mn after your session. Nevertheless, you may sometimes feel a bit bloated after the effort or completely exhausted, which can have an impact on your appetite. If even after two hours you are not capable of eating something solid, there are solutions. In order to avoid skipping a meal after a run, I can only recommend you to turn to liquids. Among all of these friendly drinks for a post run snack, you can have Saint Yorre without moderation, sugar water, a good hot chocolate or even preparing a tasty vegetables soup!

One last tip for you: eating after a race is good. Abusing of it, isn’t. Thus, be careful not to overeat or not to consume too much calories if you don’t want to ruin all the efforts made during your session!

To avoid huge post session cravings and to prevent you from emptying your whole fridge, eat carbohydrates -it will act as an appetite suppressant, which will allow you to feed yourself without excess!

 

This article is now finished, I hope it made you hungry!

 And you, what do you eat after a run?

See you soon you running maniacs!

Sources: Running Heroes, No pain No gain running (running blogger), Annedubndidu (running blogger), Ilosport, Men’s Fitness, Very Well, Health.

Why some people are always cold?

Tuesday, 24 January 2017 by

We all know someone who is always cold, even when it’s the hot season. We gently tease the person, saying that he or she is exaggerating, or maybe is overreacting. We just think that the person is skittish and that’s all.

Nevertheless, we often underestimate the continuous chilliness. Not enough people make the effort to see the GP to know what’s wrong with them. However, if it’s your case, you shouldn’t hesitate go to the GP, in order to understand where this unpleasant sensation comes from.

As a matter of fact, being cold all the time is maybe due to lots of reasons, too often unknown to the public…

You maybe guessed it that today, we are going to talk about the various causes that produce this permanent sensation of cold and how to fight them. Hang on, let’s go for an overview of them!

The most common causes explaining the sensation of cold

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Unfortunately, the continuous sensation of cold can hide a health issue. But do not worry, there are plenty of solutions to fight against it.

The aim of this article is not to scare you or to encourage you to go to the doc as soon as you are a bit cold. We simply try to alert you against some of these causes.

Among these causes, the most common one is the iron deficiency. Affecting more women than men, this deficiency manifests itself in a decrease in body heat, in a continuous sensation of cold, a skin pale, a permanent tiredness at the least effort: nothing but putting your arm up is exhausting! Indeed, when we have a lack of iron, our body finds it much harder to warm up and tries to regulate its temperature by burning off more energy, which explains the tiredness.

There is a technique to fight against this kind of symptom that never fails: you have to eat food that contains a lot of iron, like meat, pudding, lentils, beans, liver, fish…

Another factor is tiredness, which we accumulate and which we tend to put aside. The excessive lack of sleep disrupts the nervous system, and has a strong impact on a lot of the brain mechanisms (the hypothalamus), which are in charge of the regulation of our internal temperature.

As a result, the body produces less energy and a constant chilliness settles down.

In order to fight against tiredness, there is nothing simpler than sleeping between 7 and 9 hours per day. Watch less TV series and go to bed earlier, your body will thank you.

The last factor which is currently responsible for the permanent sensation of cold is dehydration. Hydration is really important, especially to fight against temperature changes in winter.

When you don’t drink enough, your body tries to withhold the water that remains. This action requires a decrease of the body heat, in order to stay into a “comfort zone” which provoke the sudden chilliness.

In order to avoid dehydration, you have to drink approximatively 1, 5 litres a day.

I’ve listed you some factors which could lead to a permanent sensation of cold, but there are others, much more pernicious.

Other possible causes explaining the constant chilliness

Looking good even when it's bad weather

These causes are not necessarily rarer than those stated above, but they are much more unknown and harder to identify.

Among these factors stand too strict diets which harm your body. Indeed, the body must always have a temperature of 37°C approximatively. In order to produce this heat, the body needs calories. However, the more the temperature goes down, the more the body requires calories in order to ensure the proper functioning of the internal thermostat. When you are on a drastic diet or on a restrictive diet (fast calories diet), your body can’t ingest enough calories, so it’s impossible to maintain the body heat at 37°C. The colder you get, the more the body consumes calories in order to stay warm.

Going on a diet is cool, but too much of it can cause the sensation of constant cold. And you don’t want to be cold all the time, I tell you.

Another unknown factor is the cold snap, especially tenacious in winter. What is a cold snap?  It’s simply a chill. In fact, it is a good old cold. When you catch a cold, your body suffers of dehydration, which impacts on the regulation of the body heat.

You may have noticed, the symptoms we mentioned are all curable on a long or medium course. However, if the sensation of cold persists and if the symptoms you have noticed are tenacious, it is possible that you suffer from a more severe condition.

 

Raynaud’s disease: a plausible explanation to this sensation of coldness

Raynaud’s disease is a chronic pathology, which affects approximatively 3 to 5% of the population. 3 out of 4 people affected are women from the age of 15 to 40 years.

This disease is characterized by a blood flow disorder in the extremities of the body, such as the fingers or the toes. When it’s cold, the blood vessels contract in order to confine the heat loss (this is what we call vasoconstriction). For those who suffer from Raynaud’s disease, the vasoconstriction becomes excessive, the blood cannot flow to the extremities. The affected areas become white, numb, cold and insensitive, which can be really painful.

This disease can also affect the nose, the lips or the earlobes. A crisis can last several minutes to several hours!

Be careful to not make the confusion between Raynaud’s disease and Raynaud’s symptom: the first one is the primary form of the pathology (90% of the cases). The symptoms are mild and don’t lead to tissue or vessel damages. The disease appears between the age of 15 and 25 and can disappear after several years of treatment.

Raynaud’s syndrome is much more pernicious: it is a secondary form of the pathology and is generally caused by diseases touching blood vessels, such as scleroderma.

I won’t go into too much details regarding Raynaud’s symptom; let’s focus on Raynaud’s disease.

The disease is diagnosed with a clinical examination or with blood tests. It generally triggers when in contact with cold environment or with a significant rush of stress. A crisis begins with a change in the skin colour, a global cooling, a numbness of the affected areas, some tingling and finally slight swellings. In order to stop a crisis, you just have to get in contact with something hot for a few seconds, and you’re good to go.

However, some symptoms can take the form of aches in the extremities of the body, crisis of pallor or a hardening of the skin.

Don’t worry, treatments exist. Most of the time, doctors will advise you to wrap you up well, even indoor and to use isolators when you touch something cold or to take something out of the fridge.

Other factors can also trigger the disease such as smoking, headaches, some nervous system troubles, frostbites, and the continuous exposure to the vibrations of some heavy electronical tools.

At this stage of the article, I’m sure you have become hypochondriac, you already have scheduled an appointment with a GP and you’ve probably bought a tonne of medicines. There is a solution to all of this: I’m going to show you a revolutionary product that will help you bear this symptoms. 

An alternative to the continuous chilliness: the Warm Series

 

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For the ones with cold feet, for those who like to wander in winter, who love fishing, who are always skittish and for those who suffer from Raynaud’s disease, Digitsole has a solution for you: the Warm Series.

The Warm Series are connected heating insoles, directly linked to your smartphone, thanks to its dedicated App. More effective than a hot water bottle, handier than heaters and much more useful than your cup of tea to warm you up, the Warm Series will ensure you daily comfort and well-being.

Equipped with a thermostat, these connected insoles adapt to their external environment: you select a temperature on your smartphone and your insoles will heat up to the desired temperature.

Welcome to the team #NeverHaveColdFeetAgain!

Did you know? : When your feet are well warmed, you reduce the risk of catching a cold or any other winter disease by 30%!

Roughly speaking, in order to survive in winter when you suffer from Raynaud’s disease or simply of chilliness, I advise you to dress warmly, even indoor, to wear gloves and big socks and equip yourself with a pair of Warm Series, so that you’ll never have cold feet again and will feel better. You’re now able to fight winter peacefully!

This article is now finished, I hope you enjoyed it!

And you, what are your technics in order to avoid being cold in winter?

 See you soon, you running maniacs!

 

 Sources : Passeport Santé, Santé canoe.ca, le Journal des Femmes, Santé Magazine, Top Santé.
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