Winter is coming, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your usual outdoor exercise routine. As long as you dress appropriately, you can still take part in cold-weather workouts which actually have several benefits above exercising in warmer weather! Our guide is here to help you to dress correctly for the winter ahead:
The Importance of Layering
The most important thing to remember when exercising in the winter is to layer your clothing. Often, you’ll find that when you begin your workout, you easily feel the cold; however, once you’ve warmed up and have started moving, your body will quickly heat up. You don’t want to find yourself wrapped up too tightly that you can’t remove a layer or two during your routine as this could interrupt your flow. That is why layering is of paramount importance; ensure that you choose tight items that can be easily removed or added if you get too hot or too cold.
If you wear your clothing in a specific combination of layers, this can help to regulate your body temperature and to keep you warm, dry and safe throughout. There are three main types of layer to consider: the base layer, the mid layer and the outer layer.
The Base Layer
Your base layer should be fairly tight fitting and be of a material that will not soak such as polypropylene, polyester, Thermax or Thinsulate. You should use a base layer on both the top and bottom half of your body; it is best to opt for long sleeves during the winter to keep the cold away from your skin. This layer will help to draw the moisture from perspiration away from your skin, keeping you warm, dry and comfortable. There are various weights of base layer which can be purchased, offering differing levels of moisture absorption and insulation for different activity levels and weather conditions.
The main feature of the mid-layer is to provide insulation and warmth. This layer will be a little looser than the base layer, however, should still maintain contact with the inner layer to ensure that the optimum amount of heat is retained. Common materials for a mid-layer garment include polyester, fleece and synthetic/natural blends of fabric and they will often have pockets, zips and adjustable collars and cuffs for ease of use.
The Outer Layer
An outer layer is often necessary for the winter, particularly for sports such as skiing and snowboarding where high winds and very low temperatures will be encountered. Many high-tech materials form outer layers including Gore-Tex, which can resist water, tears, and extreme weathers for protection. These garments will often have additional features where you can increase or decrease the heat such as underarm zippers for ventilation. It is important that this layer not only keeps moisture out but also allows it to escape to avoid a sticky, uncomfortable feeling.
Heads, Hands & Feet
Once you’ve covered the warmth of your core, it’s time to turn your attention to your head, hands and feet, as these are the parts where your body can lose the most temperature. These are also often the easiest items to add or remove if you aren’t at your optimum temperature. Sports hats, gloves and socks are very helpful too, helping to maintain a steady temperature, and to help with your performance too!
Once you’ve got together a good collection of layers, this will make it much easier to adjust your temperature mid-workout to ensure you stay comfortable and motivated, as well as reducing the risk of sustaining an injury. Don’t forget your winter warm-ups either, as this will certainly improve your performance!
If you do gain an injury, however, then take a look at our range of cooling bandages which can help with your runner’s knee recovery alongside a wide range of other painful issues. Applying our bandages for between 30 minutes to two hours can help to soothe the pain and reduce inflammation so that you can get back to doing what you love as soon as possible!