Raynaud’s Tips From a Passionate Rower

We found a blog called Girl on the River written by Patricia Carswell, a freelance journalist whose work is focused on health, fitness, lifestyle and travel.

Patricia has several physical challenges that would put the odds of taking up rowing against her – she’s petite in height (5’3″), and suffers from myalgic encephalopathy and chronic fatigue syndrome, causing debilitating fatigue, painful muscles and joints.  In addition to her primary ailments, Patricia suffers from Raynaud’s, and given that’s it’s secondary to more serious autoimmune diseases, we assume she’s prone to severe attacks.

Her passionate dedication to rowing requires some careful planning in order to stay warm enough to enjoy her outdoor activities, and she published a post on her blog titled “Rowing with Raynaud’s – how to cope with wintry conditions,” sharing her successful strategies for warmth on the water.

First, she stocks her “kit” with lots and lots of layers.  We counted ten items on her list, everything from a base layer to a coat, and lots of thermals and fleece in between.  She’s British, so you might need to translate some of the references (a “buff” is a tubular, multi-functional clothing item that can be worn as a neck gaiter, mask, headband and hat).

Next she attaches pogies to her oars.  These are like sleeping bags used to cover your hands and the ends of the oars together for keeping hands warm and windproof.

As she warms up, she sheds layers, but needs them again when entering the unheated clubhouse!

In addition to team rowing, Patricia does coxing, or the term we’re more familiar with, she plays coxswain and coaches a crew of rowers.  This role can be extremely challenging for Frosties because the coach isn’t getting the aerobic activity like the rowers to help keep them warm.

For coxing, Patricia has a different “kit” that again consists of lots and lots of layers, including thermal waterproof gloves, both thin and thick buffs and ski trousers.

Hand and foot warmers are must haves!  She says “The key to my joyous warmth was two-fold. In addition to all the layers, I had hand warmers tucked into my gloves, and foot warmers inside my trainers (British slang for shoes), providing a constant source of heat.”  (We noted the photo of Hot Hands warmer products on her post!).

Her secret weapon:  Cyclist’s neoprene overshoes.  They are both wind and waterproof, and help keep her feet insulated.  We read that Neoprene is a popular material for waterproof overshoes because if water happens to get inside (thought they were waterproof?), your feet won’t freeze since dampness stays relatively warm inside the material.   Don’t ask us how!

Check out the suggestions contributed by fellow readers below the post with some more great ideas for staying warm on the water!  Here’s the full article:  “Rowing with Raynaud’s – how to cope with wintry conditions”