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How I handle cold weather

Now that winter’s here, Ian tells us how he keeps going in the cold.

Who can complain about clear blue skies, frost in the trees, a touch of snow? Well me for one!

Beautiful though it is, it means a bit more preparation if I want to be outside. And I want to, because that exercise does me much more good than hibernating.

My tips  

I always check my local weather forecast, even if just going down to the shops. I use an app to pinpoint my locality and tell me if it’s going to be windy, if rain’s on the way or if snow’s coming. Or all three - I live in Wales!

I allow plenty of time to get ready and plan my journey. If I rush I might miss something important. And I always have a spot in mind where I can rest!

Top and tail

Whatever the weather, I look after my head and toes. I have footwear with good grip and I use double socks for cosy toesies!

A hat is vital no matter how daft it looks, and the best ones cover my ears too. To finish, I wear a scarf to keep my neck warm and to cover my face if the air’s chilly.

I keep my hands covered too. Not with thick chunky gloves as they’re not good for grip - I have mittens in my back pack. My pack takes my inhalers, water, some heat packs, plastic mac and a chocolate bar too.


Next comes the middle bit and my answer here is layers. The more the better - they don’t need to be thick and heavy to do the job. My thermal vest, tee shirt, and lightweight woollen jumper are all fairly snug. On top, I have a loose, light weatherproof outer coat – that covers my bum! I find hiking clothing is great and tell my kids I’ll have that for a present.

Sometimes I do get too warm – so I loosen my scarf and undo my coat a little until I’m comfortable again.

I take along a walking stick. It’s bright and easily seen. I suggest you do too, even if you don’t normally use one. Why? It’s for that time when I’m plodding through crowds, want to stop for a breath and get in everyone’s way. People are great, they make allowances if they see the stick. And of course if conditions are slippery, then it’s essential.

I keep away from people with colds and flu. A sniffle for them could me hospital for me. My friends know this, because I’ve told them.

A lot of fuss and bother? Yep, but so worth it. Getting out and about helps me get through winter. The exercise works on my whole body and mind, my peak flow is better after a walk, and it raises my spirits when my condition pushes me down. I get home, determined to do that little bit more tomorrow.

You can read more about looking after your lungs in cold weather in our helpful information.

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Ian in the snow


Ian lives with COPD and is researching ways that technology can be used to help people living with a lung condition


I have just read your article Ian and loved to see someone taking positive steps.

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6 November 2017