Do your workouts go into a deep freeze once the thermometer starts to take a dive? Medical experts say you should continue to stay active during the winter months. Regular exercise can help ward off extra pounds as well as stress and depression as the days get shorter.
The key to making winter workouts enjoyable is knowing what to wear. The right gear will keep you warm, dry, and protected against frostbite. Here’s a guide to dressing right for winter exercise and how to look good doing so when you take your routine outdoors.
Staying comfortable during winter workouts is all about the layers. You need layers to help wick away sweat and moisture and all to regulate your body temperature as you warm up.
The best layering technique to weather the cold is to start by putting on a moisture-wicking base layer. Choose one made from an artificial material such as nylon or polyester and refer to the label to make sure it was designed to help evaporate moisture.
Avoid cotton, which traps moisture. Nothing will make you more miserable than having wet fabric plastered against your skin outdoors in the cold when you’re miles from home.
Next, opt for a middle layer made of wool or fleece that will help keep your core warm. Finish with a water-repelling jacket to act as your shell. It should be designed so water beads up and rolls off of it.
If you get too warm during your winter workout—and you probably will depending upon the intensity of the activity—then you can remove the outer or middle layer and tie it around your waist. If you get cold again, put it back on.
Layering will help you stay comfortable and prevent you from getting too cold or overheating, especially when participating in serious calorie burning activities such as cross-country skiing.
Don’t Forget Your Legs
Choose fleece-lined leggings to help keep your legs cozy during winter workouts. Ski pants can be a great option depending upon the winter activity as they bead away water to keep your bottom half dry. Some contain a fleece lining, but you can always wear them over a silk bottom or fleece leggings for added insulation.
Your pants need to be close-fitting so cold air can’t circulate between your legs and the fabric which will make them cold. Baggy pants such as sweatpants or joggers aren’t recommended for winter workouts. For workout clothing designed for relaxing around the house after a winter workout, buy Mono B clothing at EvolveFitWear.com.
Protect Your Extremities
Don’t forget about protecting all of your outer extremities including your fingers and ears. They are especially vulnerable to getting frostbitten even if the rest of your body feels warm.
It’s essential that you wear some kind of winter hat during your exercise. Most of your body heat escapes through the top of your head, and you want to keep your ears shielded from the cold.
Get a hat that fits snuggly around your head and won’t come off in the wind. A knitted wool or fleece hat will stay put.
Gloves or mittens are a must during any kind of winter workout. You may find gloves are preferable, especially if you have to check your mobile phone while exercising.
Pay extra attention to your feet and toes and wear appropriate footwear. If you’re hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing, wear waterproof insulated boots or bots designed specifically for the activity.
If you run during the winter, sneakers are not likely to keep your toes warm as they are usually designed to let air in to cool your feet. Wear woolen socks and invest in some toe warmers so you don’t develop numbness and frostbite.
Spray your sneakers with a layer of waterproof spray to help prevent snow and rain from entering them. You may also need to get spikes for your training shoes to add a little more traction when running in conditions that can turn icy.
Go For Bright Colors
Working out in the winter doesn’t mean your choices are limited to drab shades like black and gray. In fact, you should wear brighter colored winter workout clothing if possible to make it easier for others to see you when it’s dark out. Plus, it’s just plain cheery and will make dressing up to work out more enjoyable.
You can also have fun by choosing hats and gloves in bright hues to add a pop of color to your workout outfit.
Don’t Forget Sun Protection
It’s so easy to think that just because it’s cold out that we can’t get sunburned in the winter. But nothing can be further than the truth. Although the sun’s rays are not as strong during the winter months, they can still do serious damage to the skin and get reflected off snow
So be sure to protect your face and lips and keep them soft by wearing sunscreen and lip balm with an SPF rating of at least 15. Also, don’t forget to wear sunglasses. Not only do they shield your eyes from UV damage, but they’ll protect them from snow, rain, and anything that could blow into your eyes on a windy day.
Keep Up the Winter Exercise Routine With the Right Clothing
Don’t use the excuse that it’s cold outside to stop working out. Wear the right clothing to stay toasty and comfortable and you may find you enjoying getting outdoors as much as you do during the warmer months. Don’t forget to hydrate yourself and stretch before and after working outside, even in the winter.
For more tips on wearing the right clothing for different types of workouts, check out our Health section.