Except in extreme cases, winter weather is no excuse for skipping your daily walk, run or other outdoor workout. All that’s required is preparation. The good news is, there is no need to spend a fortune on fancy winter athletic wear — you probably already own everything you need. Here’s how to prepare:
- Wear layers.1 Layers help keep in warmth, and you can peel them off as you warm up. To make layers work for you:
- Make sure the layer closest to your skin is a light synthetic to wick away moisture and dry quickly.
- Middle layers are for insulation; think wool sweaters and polyester fleece. Avoid cotton even here, as it takes too long to dry. Don’t forget layers on the bottom half of your body, especially when the cold is severe.
- The top layer protects you from rain, snow and wind. It should be waterproof or water-resistant. Remove this layer if temperatures warm to reduce sweating.2
- Cover your head, hands and feet. Your extremities and head are where you tend to lose heat and are at higher risk of frostbite.1
- Wear a warm hat to protect your head and ears and a scarf or ski mask to protect your face.
- Wear mittens instead of gloves if you don’t need to use your fingers. If you must wear gloves, try wearing two pairs. A moisture-wicking glove liner is also a good idea if your hands tend to sweat.
- Wear thick wool or thermal socks or consider an extra pair of socks. Avoid cotton as it absorbs sweat and stays wet.
Keep in mind that when it’s cold, your body uses more energy just trying to stay warm. Keep a steady pace to avoid sweating, which can make you colder and more vulnerable to frostbite.
1Cleveland Clinic. 5 Best Tips for Getting Dressed to Exercise in Cold Weather . November 3, 2016. Accessed September 4, 2018.
2Harvard Health Publishing. No excuses: How to Layer Up for Walking in Winter Weather . May 13, 2017. Accessed September 4, 2018.