If the short days aren’t putting a cramp on your winter workouts, then perhaps it’s the cold weather that’s making you yearn for your couch and a cozy blanket.
This year, don’t let winter shorten your workouts. Stocking up on quality cold-weather gear will make the season more bearable whether you’re a runner, cyclist, or you simply like long walks in the snow.
Wicking Base Layer
If you workout in freezing temperatures, it’s essential that the clothes next to your skin stays dry. Never wear cotton if you can help it, because your sweat will soak through, resulting in a base layer that’s completely wet and makes you cold. Instead, make sure your base layer is made of a wicking material like polyester.
Insulating Mid Layer
The middle layer is your insulation, and helps to keep you warm. Fleece is the most popular because it dries rapidly and insulates your body even if it’s damp.
Wool is another good option, but is a bit more expensive. When you’re choosing your insulating layer, choose garments that are loose enough to trap air between layers, and allow a full range of motion.
Waterproof Outer Layer
Your outer layer is incredibly important for keeping you completely dry and protecting your body from the wind and snow/rain. For rain protection, your outer layer should be 100 percent waterproof, like the Asics Fujitrail Hoodie. You can probably get away with a water resistant layer if you’re working out in snow, or you don’t mind getting a little damp.
Nylon layers are good because they’re still breathable, preventing you from overheating. Waterproof materials aren’t going to be breathable at all, so make sure your base- and mid-layers are going to wick the sweat when you heat up quickly.
Cover Your Head and Hands
You lose most of your body heat through your head so it’s important to keep your head covered with a wicking winter hat. Many cold weather runners will say if their head is kept warm, they don’t need as many layers. Gloves are never a bad idea either, especially if it’s windy outside.
Choose gloves that are moisture-wicking and breathable. Fleece gloves or mittens are also a decent option. Don’t wear skin-tight gloves since your hands will actually be colder if there isn’t extra room in the fingertips.
With the proper gear, your winter workouts will be more than tolerable. Warmth and waterproofing are the keys to a comfortable workout without cold, painful hands, or feeling like you’re going to catch pneumonia.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For runners looking to save money, check out online coupons from places like discountrue. Brooke is available via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.