|(Title Image: Me sat wrapped warm in my powerchair against a snowy background)|
As the February freeze is in full swing I, like many another person with a disability are having to think outside the box to practically keep warm out and about…
I know what you’re probably thinking. What’s the big deal? Throw on a big padded coat and a hat and away you go. Surely this isn’t blog worthy. What you may not be aware of if you’re able-bodied and reading this, is that people with mobility problems and particularly muscle-wasting conditions (such as Muscular Dystrophy), feel the cold 10x more than someone without. Mobility issues causes poor circulation, especially in the legs. Wheelchair users are particularly at risk. That’s why you see older people in their wheelchairs with the trademark tartan blanket over their legs. You keep your body relatively warm by just doing your usual day-to-day activities because you’re constantly moving around. Those with muscle-wasting conditions have the added freeze factor (if you will!) of not having the muscle bulk that insulates us. A doubly “cold blow” you might say. Though there are some things you can do that will help keep you warm with a physical disability or chronic illness in the winter months.
Below I’m going to share with you my Top 5 methods and clothing items that will keep you toasty, stay practical and not scream 😱 DISABILITY! Here we go….
1. Thin fitted coats with fur/fleece linings OVER the giant marshmallow effect
|(IMAGE: Me wearing thin lined coat vs lady wearing a long padded number)|
Although heavily padded winter coats are the most popular and effective at keeping a person warm, the lack of flexibility in the poofy chambers ends up physically restricting arm and trunk movement. If you find this to be true, a good alternative to these marshmallow effect winter warmers is to browse for something more of a jacket style, but incorporates a thin (yet thermal!) fleece/fur inner lining for that added insulation without the bulk.
2. Mitten gloves!
|(IMAGE: Mitten gloves; fingerless gloves with a pouch you pull over your finger tips)|
Mittens are actually in fashion now in 2018 for adults (not just the littles!), which is a bonus for those with dexterity involvement. If you’re like me and need to wear gloves right from the first day of Autumn to stop numbness spreading through your hands and fingers, rendering them useless, you need to get yourself a pair of mitten gloves! The great quality about these is you no-longer have to battle to take them on and off to use your phone. Simply unflip the mitten flap and your fingertips are free to update your Facebook status to your hearts content. Flip the mitten back over and away you go!
3. You lose most of your body heat through your head…
|(IMAGE: Model wearing mustard knit hat with faux fur bobble)|
This one’s self explanatory. Succumb to the knit faux fur bobble hat trend! It’s a known fact you lose 45% of your overall body heat through your head. You can’t argue with science! You could have an array of different styles and colours if you don’t want to blend in with the crowd.
4. Thermal/fleece pant + shoe linings
|(IMAGE: Winter boots and pair of jeggings showing fleece thermal linings)|
As a wheelchair user myself, my legs are the biggest cold suckers, I also suffer from ‘corpse feet’ (shout out to Carrie Aimes for coming up with that term!). Little did I know you can get fleece lined leggings/jeggings/jeans and they don’t look extra bulky on like I was concerned about. Lined boots are a good alternative to heavy snow boots or frost bite inducing Converse. The less weighty the footwear is, yet equally insulating the better, particularly those with walking difficulties.
5. Layer, layer, layer!
|(IMAGE: Reel of model showing different layering options)|
Contrary to your initial thoughts that layering may present a ‘bulk’ issue all on its own, it’s actually more practical mobility wise to wear multiple thin layers to again insulate (my favourite word in this blog apparently 🙈) than wearing one big bulky item of clothing. Reason being its been proved heat gets more trapped within layers than one garment and it gives you the option to shed layers to accommodate your changing environment over the course of the day. Getting too hot is equally troublesome!