The mercury may be falling soon, but that doesn’t mean you have to sideline your outdoor workout for the winter. A little preparation can go a long way toward full enjoyment and high performance levels during colder weather.
Proper attire can help you maintain your core body temperature and reduce cold weather-related risks. Keep these five tips in mind to make sure Old Man Winter doesn’t sideline your sport this season:
Pile on the layers
Layering is your best winter sports strategy. The layer closest to your skin should be a moisture-wicking material, like lightweight polyester or polypropylene, to take moisture away from your skin to the outer layers to evaporate. The second layer is the insulating layer, which should be wool or polyester fleece. The third, outer layer needs to be wind and rain-repellent. When exercising in the cold, this third layer should be removed unless it is raining, snowing or very windy. If worn during exercise, this layer can trap sweat and not allow for proper evaporation. You can always put the top layer back on during rest times outdoors.
Cover your head
Be sure to cover your head with a hat or helmet to decrease heat loss.
The mitten/glove decision
If finger dexterity is not important for your cold weather activity of choice, wear mittens instead of gloves. If gloves are necessary, consider wearing a thin liner under the gloves for better insulation.
Protect your feet
Dry, warm feet are essential for decreasing the risk of a cold-weather injury and preventing blisters. Socks should wick moisture away from your feet to your boot. Avoid cotton socks. Cotton keeps moisture next to the skin. More appropriate fabrics include wool or synthetic fibers with moisture-wicking capability.
Don’t forget about fit
If you layer socks, be sure your boot is large enough to ensure proper circulation.
Keep the weather in mind
It’s also important to make sure you take steps to avoid a fall on slippery ice or snow. Be aware of the weather, and keep in mind that ice is likely if it’s 32 degrees or colder outside.
Wear proper footwear and select shoes or boots with a good tread. Make sure the surface that you are exercising on is shoveled and de-iced.