How to Stop Coughing After Running in Cold Weather – UPDATED 2021
With winter hitting Europe and the cold weather starting to appear, it’s normal for people to start worrying about winter running. For many of these people located in places like Sweden, Norway, or Canada, the cold weather can really affect your running. The most noticeable being (apart from the cold) is the constant coughing after running in the cold weather.
While if you are running in temperatures above freezing point, you probably haven’t experienced coughing after running. But for those running in minus degrees, it’s something we continue to deal with each winter.
So what causes this and is it possible to stop yourself from coughing after running? Continue reading to learn how to deal with not only coughing but wheezing symptoms too.
Coughing After Running in Cold Weather – What Should You Know?
Coughing after running whether in the cold or warmth is relatively common within runners. In fact, most runners experience a bout of coughing after a hard workout. So, if this is so common, why do many runners experience coughing after running in the cold, even when running easy?
You see, when you run outside in cold, dry weather, you end up breathing in air that is drier than what is already in the body. This often causes the body to lose heat and water from the lungs. Causing shortness of breath, resulting in a chronic cough that can often last for 10-15 minutes after your run.
Coughing can also be much worse when doing more intense workouts, and when the weather gets colder (below -10deg). this often causes a much deeper cough and also symptoms of wheezing.
Luckily most of the time the coughing will stop within 30 minutes after finishing your run. However, if you experience severe coughing that lasts more than 30 mins, talk to your doctor. You may be experiencing exercise-induced bronchoconstriction or something else.
That’s why it is important to understand your symptoms and whether it is caused by the cold weather or another underlying issue.
Wheezing After Running in Cold Weather
If you are used to running in the cold you may have experienced wheezing after running in the cold weather. This wheezing sound is caused by your airways. When cold air passes through it produces a substance called histamine. This then causes runners that run in the cold to experience similar symptoms as an allergy attack or other asthma symptoms.
Luckily there are ways to prevent wheezing after running in the cold. Simple things like covering your mouth with a scarf or neck warmer can help limit the amount of cold air that passes through your lungs.
Other people however tend to move their harder sessions indoors during the winter months. This helps limit the amount of cold air you need to breathe during winter training.
However, if you rely on outdoor running during the winter months, some tools can help change the temperature of the air before it reaches your airways. Tools like Airtrim cover the mouth and allow you to change filters that control the temperature of the air before it reaches your airways.
Alternatively, a bandana or scarf will help in temperatures above and just below freezing conditions. However, we do recommend if you are running outside in lower than -10 degrees, look to invest in an Airtrim. Doing so will prevent you from experiencing severe coughing after running.
How to stop Coughing After Running in Cold Weather
If you are consistently experiencing coughing after running in cold weather, you might want to start covering your mouth when running.
Generally, the only way to stop coughing after running in cold weather is to prevent it from happening in the first place. This means covering your mouth with a scarf, balaclava, or even an Airtrim.
However, if you are experiencing this for the first time, you might want to know how to stop the coughing quickly.
Start by directly going into a warmer area. This means finishing your run and heading into a warm home or building. this will help warm air pass through your airways as quickly as possible. Secondly, a lukewarm drink of water or tea will help soothe any airway issues you may be experiencing.
Other things like a hot shower or some minutes in a sauna can both help to prevent coughing after running.
Alternatively, if none of these things help and you don’t have access to a mask (Airtrim). Try to inhale through your nose while running instead of your mouth. then focus on exhaling through your mouth instead. Then limit any type of high-intensity training outdoors in winter, and replace it with indoor training on a treadmill.
Cold Air Exercise Induced Asthma – What is it?
Cold air induced asthma is more common than you think. Not just in running but other outdoor sports, many people experience cold air induced asthma.
During exercise, it is more common for people to breathe through their mouth than their nose. Because the mouth warms the air much less than the nose, people tend to inhale colder air while exercising.
This causes asthma symptoms to significantly worsen with people that exercise outdoors in winter. As the colder the temperature the more difficult it is for the body to warm the air before it reaches the lungs.
Cold air exercise induced asthma can cause symptoms like:
– Chest pain
– Severe Coughing
– Shortness of breath
– Tightness in the chest
So it is important if you experience any of these symptoms to limit the amount of high-intensity training in cold weather until the subside. Alternatively, replace any high-intensity outdoor training with inside training. Otherwise, try using a winter mask or scarf to help limit the amount of cold air that can reach the lungs.