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Cold weather certainly is hitting us hard this winter season. If you are an avid exerciser, how do you deal with it, particularly if you still want to make a go of it outdoors?
You need to be prepared with the right choices of winter workout clothing.
Layers Are Key to Safe Winter Workouts
Once the thermometer dips below 40 degrees, the first step is to consider the amount and type of apparel you need to layer.
Even though wicking or dry-tech apparel has revolutionized the exercise clothing world for both summer and winter, proper layering remains the key to warmth. It traps air in between the layers of material, which provides you with insulation. Also, layering allows you to peel off clothing if you become warmer during exercise, so it’s not “all or nothing” with a big heavy jacket as your only option.
The second step is to ditch the cotton garments. They do nothing but hold the moisture in, which makes you cold.
Six Must-Haves for Your Winter Workout
When you are evaluating layers for an outdoor winter workout, think about these six necessities:
- Base Layer. A dry-tech, wicking shirt or merino wool pulls the moisture (sweat) away from your body, helping you stay warm.
- Jacket. This should be a wind-and-water resistant shell, not your typical winter coat.
- Tights. They offer warmth and compression, helping blood flow and increasing your endurance.
- Wind-resistant pants. These are especially helpful on windy, snowy days.
- Gloves. Actually mittens are the better choice. They keep your fingers together and much warmer than gloves.
- Hat. You can lose more than 30 percent of your body heat through your scalp. Check out the latest wicking-material hats. Wool always works, as well.
Layering Guide by Temperature
So, now that you’re ready to tackle the elements, how do you know what is enough or too much?
Several years ago, Runner’s World published a guide that I think is pretty practical. It goes as follows:
- < 30 degrees: 2 tops, 1 bottom, including a long-sleeve base layer
- 10-20 degrees: 2 tops, 2 bottoms with jacket over base layer and wind pants over tights
- 0-10 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms
- -10-0 degrees: Probably should visit your local fitness center
Runner’s World also offers a handy “What to Wear” guide that will personalize your results to current weather conditions. I encourage you to check it out.
Finally, before you layer up and head out in the the cold to exercise, also think about road conditions with ice and driver visibility. If it is that bad outside, make the safe choice and stay in the heated gym or rec room.
Enjoy the winter with your exercise. If you are prepared with the right winter workout clothes, you’ll enjoy it that much more.
Looking for a the right gym or fitness club for working out all winter in Canton, North Canton or Plain Township, Ohio? Check out the Mercy Health & Fitness Center today.
About The Author
Eldon Jones, Director of Mercy Sports Medicine and Health & Fitness, received his B.A. from Walsh University, M.A. in Exercise Physiology from Kent State University, and MBA in Business Administration from Kent State University. Jones has worked at Mercy Medical Center since 1978. He currently serves as the volunteer advisor for the Canton Marathon Running Club Training Program. He also coaches the St. Thomas Aquinas High School girls cross country team.