4 Tips for Acclimating to Winter Training

4 Tips for Acclimating to Winter Training

Winter training is a great time to train because you have the opportunity to test yourself against the elements. You will get to experience some of the most challenging conditions that exist in nature. However, if you are not careful, winter training could result in injury or even death!

It’s important to remember that winter training is dangerous. If you don’t have proper equipment, clothing, and safety gear then you could end up getting hurt or worse. Here are some tips for acclimating to winter training:

1) Wear warm clothes!

Warm clothing keeps your body from freezing while keeping out the cold wind. Your skin needs at least 32 degrees F (0 C). When you’re wearing a jacket, pants, boots, gloves and scarf, your body temperature should reach 33 degrees F (0 C). If you wear nothing but shorts and tights you’ll only hit 30 degrees F (zero C)!

2) Avoid using the same type of clothing over and over again.

Each piece of clothing should fit properly so that it doesn’t restrict movement. A tight shirt might make walking around difficult. A baggy jacket might swing around and get in the way of your arms.

3) Wear clothing that is appropriate for the activity.

For example, if you are going to be hiking then you should wear hiking boots and not flip-flops. Try out all the clothing before you head out so you know everything works together.

4) Layer your clothing!

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Layers help keep you warm by trapping air between your clothes. Air is a good insulator, so the more air you can trap, the warmer you’ll be. Layers can be adjusted so that you can be comfortable in a wide range of temperatures.

Warmth is important for your body to function properly. Without it, your organs would stop working and eventually you’d die. You can lose heat in several ways:

Conduction is when heat moves from one object to another. For example, if you are touching a metal pole and it is very cold outside, then the coldness of the pole will be transferred to your body. Insulation prevents heat loss by blocking conduction.

Convection is when heat moves from one place to another due to a flow of fluids (gas or liquid). For example, when there is a cold wind, then the wind takes away your body’s heat. Insulating your body from the wind will keep you warmer.

Radiation is when your body gives off heat in the form of long-wave radiation (which cannot be seen by the human eye). No man-made material can block long-wave radiation, but darkness and some types of clothing can help to decrease radiant heat loss.

The things you wear while winter training should protect you from cold winds, prevent sunlight from heating your body, and keep you dry. Here are some types of clothing you can use:

A toque (tuk) is a knitted hat that covers your head and ears. These are very good at keeping your ears and head warm.

Mitts have separate pockets for your fingers and are very good at keeping them warm. If they aren’t too thick, they can still allow you to be precise with what you are doing.

Gloves keep your whole hand warm. They can provide extra protection than just mitts, but they tend to be clumsy and reduce your manual dexterity. Mitts are better in my opinion since I like to retain some manual dexterity.

Knee-high socks (sometimes called longer socks) can be pulled up to your thighs if the cold becomes unbearable. They do a good job of keeping your legs warm and increasing your overall body temperature.

Be sure to check the temperature rating of the socks you buy. The ones I use are rated to -40 degrees C, which is adequate even during a Yukon winter.

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Long underwear keeps your body warm without restricting your movement. It will insulate you better than just sweat pants and a t-shirt or athletic underwear.

Long underwear has a temperature rating of -40 degrees F (-40 degrees C). This is more than adequate for the average winter in the Northern Hemisphere. It can be worn alone or as an under-layer.

A balaclava is a head-covering that protects the head and neck from cold winds. It can either be bought or homemade. A good balaclava can be made out of an old sweatshirt. They are usually tight-fitting so as to not catch the winds in the fabric and become an air-reservoir between your body and the balaclava.

Here are some other things you should take with you:

Water is essential to life. It doesn’t hurt to have some on hand, just in case you get lost in a snowstorm and don’t know where the next source is. Try not to overdo it, however. Carrying too much weight can make you tired and less mobile.

A blanket is also important. I suggest a space blanket because they are very lightweight and take up little space in your bag. They can reflect up to 80% of your body heat back to you, but they can only withstand so much tear and wear. If you are using it as a make-shift tent, put rocks at the bottom on which to place the blanket or else it could blow away.

Night vision is very important when snowshoeing. It allows you to see wildlife tracks and other signs that can’t be seen during the day. It is invaluable for safety while you are out.

Snowshoes are just as the name implies: shoes for snow. When going through deep snow, it can make the march much easier. Snowshoes differ from person to person depending on their weight and the depth of the snow. Make sure you test them out first in the store just to see how they fit.

The last, but definitely not least, is a survival kit. This is an important tool to carry with you in your daypack at all times. It should contain a small knife, fire-starting materials, and some cord for tying things down or making a shelter.

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The type of clothing you wear is very important. Typical winter clothing is usually bulky and restricts movement, which is why I snowshoe. It’s also possible to buy “winter boots” which are essentially boots made for snowshoeing. They have good grip and are quite warm.

I can’t stress how important it is to stay hydrated. If you are sweating, make sure you are drinking water. If you are drinking water, make sure you’re eating something with a high level of sugars or carbohydrates. This will keep up your blood sugar levels so that you don’t pass out from exhaustion.

Don’t forget to look at the world around you. There is beauty in the wintertime that many people overlook.

Most importantly, have fun! The outdoors are a fantastic place to have fun in the snow. Just follow my guidelines and stay safe!

“But Dad–“

“I said NO!” your dad interrupts. “You’re not going and that’s FINAL!”

You sigh and roll your eyes. You knew it would be like this. Your dad is so overprotective that he’d rather you just sit inside playing video games than go out and actually do something fun.

“I’m leaving, Henry,” your mom says, hurt. “Don’t call me when you finally grow up and realize what a fool you’re being. Goodbye.”

Your father just shakes his head as your mother grabs her coat and purse and then leaves. You feel bad that she’s upset, but your father is unmoved. He turns to you and angrily points to the stairs.

“Go to your room,” he says in an enraged tone. “And stay there until I say you can leave!”

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You quickly hurry up the stairs to your room and fling yourself on your bed.

How could something that seemed like a good idea turn out so bad?

You just wanted to go out with your friends for your birthday, but now it looks like you’re going to be stuck here… Unless…

You look around your room. There has to be something in here that you could use to sneak out with.

Perhaps one of your parents’ costumes?

No, that’s too risky – they’d know it was you in a second.

Perhaps one of your sister’s outfits?

No, same issue. As your eyes gaze over the multitude of posters adorning your walls, an idea comes to you. A crazy idea. One that is quite ludicrous, but just insane enough that it might work. With newfound determination, you hurry to ready yourself for your night on the town.

You don’t have much in the way of women’s clothing, but then you hardly ever need to wear them. The only thing that you own that could pass as somewhat passable is a loose-fitting dress and sandals. You also remember that your sister has a purse that she sometimes uses. You quickly check to make sure that your father has left the house and then go to your sister’s room and grab it.

The purse is pretty fancy – it’s red with gold decorations on it. Hopefully, it’ll be enough.

You quickly change out of your sweaty clothes and into the dress. You put on the sandals over your pantyhose in case you have to run or fight in them. You take a deep breath and pull the dress over your head. It feels weird wearing clothing meant for someone else – especially when that someone else is your sister.

It’s not really that different from your shorts and tank top, but it’s long enough that it constantly threatens to trip you up. You also feel somewhat exposed in just a bra since that’s about as much coverage as your dress provides.

You take another deep breath, grab the purse, and head back downstairs. Your father is waiting at the bottom of the stairs.

“I thought I told you to go to your room!” he says.

“And I thought I told you I would never betray you,” you say in a snooty tone. “

You obviously don’t know what kind of daughter you have, do you?”

You turn away from him and start walking towards the front door. You can practically feel the rage emanating off of him as he stares at your retreating form, but fortunately he holds himself back.

He calls out to you as you open the front door.

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“You’re not fooling anyone with that ridiculous getup,” he says, “so you might as well take it off.”

You give a little wave and shut the door before he can see your smile.

Your father always was too smart for his own good.

Unsurprisingly, your mother is nowhere to be seen when you leave. You have no idea what time it is, but it can’t be too late since there are still a few people out and about. You briefly wonder if you should call a cab or an Uber, but you decide that it would probably be best if you called as little attention to yourself as possible. You spot a bus stop across the street and hurry over to it.

Thankfully, the bus comes by a few minutes later and you manage to get on without incident.

Once on board, you take a seat by a window and keep your head down so no one can see you too clearly. You pull out your phone and check for any messages.

You have a couple of missed calls from yesterday as well as a voicemail from your mom. You delete the voicemail and decide not to risk listening to it – if it’s anything like her last message she’s just going to yell at you anyway. No point in torturing yourself.

The more important thing is that you have a text from an unknown number that was sent a couple of hours ago.

It says:

If you want to know what happened to Lucy, meet me at the information kiosk at the Mall at 1 AM. Tell no one.

You get chills as you read it. You can only think of one person who would send you such a message. You quickly type a response.

You: Who is this?

The response comes quickly.

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Stranger: Do not fret. I am merely a messenger. The man you need to meet is named William. He will explain everything.

You frown as you type your reply.

You: I can’t meet him. I need to find my sister first.

Stranger: Your sister is the one who wants to see you. She is worried about you. If you want to see her, you must come to William.

You don’t know what to type in response. It seems weird that your sister would want to see you at the same time someone else wants to meet you, but she probably wouldn’t send a stranger to tell you that.

At the same time, how do you really know that this isn’t the guy who kidnapped her in the first place?

Stranger: If you don’t trust me, why not ask me something only your sister would know?

You think for a moment and then remember something.

You: When mom had that concert when she was first starting out, what song was she singing?

The response takes a bit, and your stomach drops as you think maybe the person on the other end got caught somehow. But finally the response comes.

Stranger: She was singing “Farore’s Courage” from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It was her favorite song, and she said that it reminded her of you and how brave you seemed to be at times when we were out in public and everyone was staring at us. Like when we went shopping and you saw that man screaming at the cashier at the grocery store.

You have no idea what to say. The stranger was definitely your sister. No one else would know something like that.

You: I’m on my way.

The text is sent, and you immediately feel sick to your stomach.

What if they’re using you for something?

The thought had occurred to you, but you didn’t really think it was true – you hoped it wasn’t true.

But what choice do you have?

You can’t just stay here at the bus station. It’s too creepy late at night, and there are some suspicious people hanging around. You decide to go to the Mall. At least there you’ll be among people and there will be more options for you if things go south.

You get out your phone and try calling Lucy again. It goes straight to voicemail, just like all the times before. This makes you even more nervous.

Why isn’t she picking up if she’s safe?

You exit the bus station and get in your car. You drive to the Mall, constantly checking your phone for any missed calls or messages, but there’s nothing.

You exit your car and head into the Mall. It’s closed of course, but you head to the information desk and show the guy there a picture of Lucy that was taken not too long ago. The guy nods slowly after looking at it for a while.

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“Yeah…I’ve seen her. She was here yesterday afternoon.”

Your heart jumps.

Lucy was here yesterday? “What was she doing here?”

The guy shrugs. “Just walking around. She looked pretty tired, like she had been running through the forest or something. There was this one moment where she stopped and just stared out one of the windows at the parking lot. Looked like she was crying, but maybe that was my imagination.”

Do you know which way she went when she left?”

He shakes his head. “She just left. I only noticed her because she didn’t look like she belonged here.”

“Okay, thank you.” You start heading towards the exit. “Oh, one more thing…”

Hm?”

How long ago did you say she was here?”

He thinks for a moment. “I think it was around three thirty, four…? Wait no, it was three forty-five.”

You frown. “Thanks.”

You head to your car and pull out your phone again. No new messages or voicemails.

Where could she be?

You: I’m at the mall now.

Where are you?

I’ll come meet you.

The response is pretty quickly this time.

You: There’s no point of meeting up since I’m not there anymore. You shouldn’t have come here since it might be dangerous now. Follow these instructions, and don’t ask any questions.

You frown at the screen.

What the hell is going on?

Stranger: Go back to the bus station. Take the first bus you see heading North. Use this phone to text once you get on. After you get off the bus, go inside the nearest hotel and stay there. Buy some new clothes and other things you think you’ll need for your trip. Leave as soon as you’re done. Don’t tell anyone where you’re going or who you’re talking to.

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You: …

Stranger: I know it’s a lot, but you have to trust me on this. I’m doing this for your own good. We can talk more in depth when you get to where you’re going. You’re going to have to make some cuts and burns on your arm though.

Just scrape some skin off and blow on it a little, then apply the nanites like we did back in high school. The scars will heal up quickly. I did this so you know its me. Remember, not a word to anyone.

Stranger has ended the conversation.

The hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

This is really happening, isn’t it?

You head back to the bus station and find that there’s a bus heading to the next town up in just a few minutes. You board it and find you have a couple hours to kill on the ride up. Your mind wanders back to high school and the things that you did with your new “online friends”.

You were a pretty lonely kid in high school. You hung out with a group of friends, but you never had anything in common with them. Most of them were into partying or working after school and none of that interested you. You started using the internet regularly in middle school, and soon found an online community that ran on an obscure messaging system.

You soon found that you had a lot in common with the folks there, and your online friends soon outnumbered your real life ones.

You were really into the messages at first and spent most of your time on it. You got to know your online friends pretty well, and would get bummed out if you missed their messages. As time went on though, the novelty started to wear off, and you started slowly drifting away from it.

You think back to high school. Most of your friends had the same online names they had back then, although it looked like some of them have changed their avatars to feature photographs instead of illustrated characters. You remember in particular two of your online friends, one which went by the name of Kit and another who went by the name of Mimic. Kit was your female friend with a deep interest in horror movies and creepy plotlines.

Mimic was your other online friend who had a passion for hard Sci-Fi and deep, thought-provoking stories. You were particularly close with them both.

Kit spoke to you mostly on AIM but Mimic would often send long, well written emails that you would read and mull over for days. As time went on though, Kit and Mimic both seemed to push for you to meet with them IRL. Kit was all for it. She often told you how she thought you would really hit it off in real life and become a couple, just like your online relationship suggested.

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Mimic was a little more hesitant with the idea, but didn’t seem fully against it. The only thing that both of them agreed on was that the internet had a way of ruining real life friendships. They wanted to keep the online one intact.

Mimic was the first to drift away from the group. She gave no real reason, she just stopped talking to everyone and would ignore any messages you sent. Kit thought that was really sad and tried to talk to Mimic about it, but received no response. Eventually Kit stopped trying and drifted away as well.

You tried writing to Mimic a couple times, but never got a reply.

You were really mad at Mimic for a long time, and blamed her for ruining what you thought couldve been three-way friendship. Eventually though, you got over it. You were left with Kit as your sole online friend, and the two of you continued to talk often. As you got older though, your interests started to change.

You found other things to do and other people to hang out with, leaving you less time to stay on the computer and talk to Kit. Soon, months would pass between conversations, then years.

Eventually, you started to forget about the friendships you made online. You rarely ever thought about them anymore.

The next five years went by quickly and now here you are, standing with your duffel bag on the subway platform.

You check the time and see that the train should arrive in five minutes. That gives you enough time to get a good seat on the train and scope out the area for anyone that looks suspicious. You hope that the person doesn’t try to sit next to you, but you’re prepared to deal with it if they do.

The subway train pulls in and you board it. There are tons of people packed onto the car so you move to the very front car where there are hardly any people. You stand by the door and keep your gaze moving over everyone in the car.

You watch as different people get on and off at each stop. A couple of times you think someone is going to approach you, but each time they choose someone else to talk to. That makes you rethink your own strategy of standing by the door. Maybe it would be better if you chose to sit near the middle of the car.

That way you’re accessible to someone who wants to talk, but not invasive enough to put people off.

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You’re about to move when you see a familiar face walking down the subway aisle. It’s Mimic! She hasn’t seen you yet, so you decide to stay put for a moment. You watch her as she walks past.

She looks… different. Her hair is longer than you remember and she’s wearing clothes that are more stylish than the hoodies and jeans she used to wear all the time. She looks like she’s lost a bit of weight since the good old days when you used to hang out online.

You wait until she gets almost all the way to the front of the car before saying anything.

Mimic?”

She turns and looks at you, a look of surprise coming over her face.

Kelso? Is that you?”

She walks back towards you and hugs you.

“Yeah, it’s me.”

You return her hug, it feels good to see a familiar face.

I can’t believe it, what are the chances that we’d meet each other again like this?

Man, it’s been so long!

How have you been? What’ve you been up to these days?”

she asks.

She’s just as enthusiastic as you remember!

“Ah, not much. Just kinda working and staying out of trouble.”

Really?

I would’ve thought with the internet being as popular as it is now that you’d be making tons of money producing web comics or something!”

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You laugh. “Nah, I never was any good at drawing.

Would you believe that back in the day my nickname was ‘Kelso Cripple’?”

She laughs. “Yeah, I can actually believe it. You were the only one with actual talent in our group!

Remember when you wrote that song for Claire?

She played it at our wedding!”

A pang of jealousy hits you when you hear Mimic mention her marriage, but its washed away by the joy of reconnecting with an old friend.

“I didn’t know you got married… er, married…

you know what I mean.” You stutter.

“Yeah, Claire and I have been married for five years now. I have to admit, it was a bit strange at first, but I’ve gotten used to it.”

The train slows to a stop at the next station and a few more people get on. One man walks by and gives you two a quick glance, but doesn’t pay you any mind otherwise.

So what brings you back to the city?”

Mimic asks.

“Oh, I wanted to visit my mom. She lives in the residential area, near the palace.”

Oh yeah?

I grew up in the residential area too! Maybe we lived near each other and just don’t remember it!”

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“Maybe… oh look its my stop, nice chatting with you Mimic. It was good to see you again.”

You start to push towards the doors of the subway car.

“Wait! Hold on a second!

Please, will you come meet Claire?

I’m sure she’d love to see you again. It’ll only take a minute!

Please?”

You waver back and forth. You really want to see Claire, but you don’t want to impose. Then again, it would be really nice to see an old friend…

→ YES…

“Alright, I’ll come meet her.” You say.

“Great!” Mimic beams. “This is my stop too, I was going to take the subway to her place anyway. Come on, this is going to be so cool!”

The doors of the subway car slide close and the train starts moving. Mimic leads you off at the next stop, a move you feel is unnecessary as there were still several stops left before yours. A quiet residential neighborhood filled with quaint houses made of brick and stone. You aren’t sure which one is Mimic’s, so you just wait for her to point it out.

“There it is!” she exclaims, pointing at a two-story house. “

So, you coming in or what?”

“Uh yeah, sure.”

You follow Mimic up the walkway and toward the front door. She searches through her pockets and pulls out a set of keys.

“Geez, I can’t believe I’m doing this.” She mutters as she finds the right one and opens the door.

You step into Mimic’s home and find yourself in a small foyer, with a staircase to your left. Mimic closes the door behind you and turns toward the staircase.

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“Claire! You’ve got company!” she shouts up to the second floor.

Who is it?”

a voice responds from above.

“Just an old friend. You’ll see in a minute.”

Mimic turns back to you and gestures toward the living room to the right. “Make yourself at home, I’ll be back in a second.” With that she takes off up the stairs leaving you alone in the foyer.

The living room is quaint, but comfortable looking. A fireplace made of stone takes up one wall, while the other walls are covered in paintings and photographs. You walk into the room and look at a few of the frames. Most are just photographs of Mimic and Claire, but one stands out.

The photograph shows a man and a woman. The man you recognize as Mimic, but the woman is unknown to you.

“That’s my mom.” You hear behind you.

You turn around to see Mimic standing in the entrance of the room. “That was taken a long time ago.” She says as she walks into the room.

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“I, I didn’t know you were adopted.” You stutter, feeling embarrassed that you lack basic social skills.

“Yeah, I was. My mom died right after that picture was taken, and my dad… well he wasn’t really the fatherly type.

He worked all the time so he paid for a nanny to look after me instead. Nessa took care of me until I was old enough to go it alone.”

Nessa?”

“Oh, that’s what I called my mom. It used to drive my dad crazy.” Mimic smiles at the memory.

“You don’t talk about him much.” You observe.

Mimic’s face darkens. “No, I don’t.”

You decide not to push it and change the subject. “

So, you have a twin sister?

That’s cool.”

“Yeah, I guess. She’s a pain in the butt half the time, but I love her.”

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Are you guys close?”

Mimic frowns. “It’s complicated. Living together has never really been a problem, but we are close in our own way I suppose.” She brightens up. “Hey, I’ve got some tea ready, why don’t you come on back and we can talk about what you’ve been doing all these years.”

You smile and follow Mimic into the kitchen.

So, you work with computers and stuff?”

Mimic asks as she serves up the tea.

“Actually, I teach it now.” You say proudly.

“No way! I can’t even turn on a computer without crashing.” Mimic laughs. “

How’d you get into that line of work?”

“Well, I sort of had a scholarship for the university in the US and it just sort of evolved from there.”

The US? You mean like Hollywood and the Grand Canyon?”

Mimic’s eyes are wide with wonder.

“Actually I was in New York, and I never made it out to see the Grand Canyon, but I’ve seen pictures.” You admit sheepishly.

“Wow! I’ve seen pictures of New York too, but only in books. I’ve never been farther than ten miles from this town.”

You pause as realize how incredibly limited Mimic’s world must be. “It’s pretty cool, but it has a lot of crime too.

How have you never been further than ten miles from here?”

“I like it here.” Mimic says in the same tone someone else might use when stating “The sky is blue.

You smile and nod. “Fair enough.”

What about you?”

Mimic asks after a few minutes of silence. “

What do you like to do for fun?”

You think for a moment, but can’t think of anything that you’d actually do in front of Mimic.

Video games? TV?

None of it seems very interesting now that you have someone to share it with. “I like to read sometimes, and I go for walks in the nearby park…” You trail off as you realize that it all sounds incredibly boring.

“It’s not that interesting, is it.” You say sadly.

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“No! I like walks in the park too! It’s a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon, you know, once the weather’s gotten a little warmer.”

“Yeah…” You respond a little dejectedly.

Mimic notices your disappointment and smiles at you. “It’s getting late, you should stay the night here and I’ll take you home tomorrow.”

You agree quickly and head to bed early. The blankets on the couch haven’t been used in a while so they’re musty and stale, but the actual mattress is quite comfortable.

You drift off to sleep thinking of your new friends.

The next day Mimic drops you off at your apartment. “I had fun, let’s do it again sometime!” She says before driving away.

You wave goodbye to her and enter your apartment. As you drop down on your bed, you realize that the fatigue of the past two days is catching up with you and you fall asleep before your head even hits the pillow.

1 week passes…

Mimic has been busy lately. You’ve hung out with her every day this week, only leaving to go to work and then returning to your apartment at odd hours. You’re not sure how she can go out partying every night, but then again she’s a professional and probably used to this sort of thing.

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You’re beginning to run out of things to talk about though, all your mundane conversations and inside jokes are starting to bore you. You never thought you’d get sick of them, but she just doesn’t seem as interesting as she once did.

You don’t want to admit it, but you’re starting to miss Alison a little. At least with her you had something new to discuss everyday. Something you could commiserate about.

You wonder if you should suggest going to a horror movie, just for a change of pace.

Mimic’s apartment.

Sources & references used in this article:

REGULATION OF COLD-RESISTANT TRAINING FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL [J] by YCJ Zaifu – JOURNAL OF PREVENTIVE MEDICINE OF CHINESE …, 1998 – en.cnki.com.cn

Phenotypic markers for selection of winter hardy garden chrysanthemum (Dendranthema× grandiflora Tzvelv.) genotypes by N Anderson, E Gesick – Scientia horticulturae, 2004 – Elsevier

Winter Swimming: Body Hardening and Cardiorespiratory Protection Via Sustainable Acclimation by AS Manolis, SA Manolis, AA Manolis… – Current sports …, 2019 – journals.lww.com

Survival of Peromyscus in relation to environmental temperature and acclimation at high and low temperatures by JA Sealander Jr – American Midland Naturalist, 1951 – JSTOR