How to Dress for Winter Exercise

1. Base Layer: Start with polypropylene.

Working out in clothing drenched in sweat makes you more vulnerable to the cold and puts your core body temperature at risk of dipping dangerously low. 
Having a polypropylene later as your base is a must. 

Polypropylene is more commonly known as “moisture-wicking” fabric. As opposed to materials like cotton, which absorb sweat, polypropylene helps sweat evaporate quickly.

Don’t forget about your lower body either. When it’s cold outside, consider wearing a snug later of nylon tights under your pants to help insulate your legs. 

2. Mid Layer: Veer on the side of ventilation.
 
Cover your inner, sweat-wicking layer with another item for insulation. Wearing layers with ample ventilated openings can help to regulate body temperature in colder weather. Opt for items with zippers and mesh sides. 

Avoid rubber or plastic-based fabrics that don’t breathe and prevent sweat from evaporating. Fabrics like micro fleece and thermal tops make for a solid middle layer. Consider a mock turtleneck style to protect both your torso and neck.

3. Outer Layer: Wear an element-shielding shell.

A nylon jacket or windbreaker made of Gore-Tex works well as a top layer. These rugged, breathable materials help repel wind and water while remaining lightweight and perfect for outdoor movement. 

4. Accessories: Protect your extremities.

Make a quick checklist before you leave the house: feet, head and ears, hands and eyes and skin should all be protected before you brave the elements. 

Feet: Skip out on the sweat-absorbing cotton, which could lead to moisture, rubbing and blisters, and look for socks made from materials such as drynamix, which pushes moisture away from the skin, and mohair, which keeps your feet warm. Also look for water-resistant, breathable running shoes that make slush, snow and winter’s puddles easier to manage.

Head and Ears: While the myth that you lose most of your heat through your head has been busted, it’s still essential to wear a hat. Look for something polyester and elastane-based to help shield against the wind. When it’s very cold, consider wearing a facemask or wrapping a scarf around your mouth to protect your lungs from the cold air.  

Hands: Protect your hands with reflective, moisture-wicking gloves that keep your hands dry and offer added safety for evening workouts. If you exercise with music, consider a pair of gloves that are touch-screen compatible. That way, you don’t have to take off a protective layer every time you want to change a song.

Eyes and Skin: The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of sun. Even in winter, the reflection of UV rays off freshly fallen flakes can be harmful, and the brightness can be blinding. Pack sunglasses and apply sunscreen before you head out.

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About the Author

Stephanie Smith

Stephanie Smith is a New York native who caught the fitness bug while earning a master's in journalism at the University of Missouri. A life-long victim of the YMCA family package, she didn't learn to really love fitness until she entered the renowned Mizzou rec room. Her one true love: glow in the dark cycling.
 
After maxing out her need for (stationary) speed, Stephanie decided to hit the pavement and actually try and go somewhere by joining her first half-marathon training group. She ultimately decided to combine her love of journalism, fitness and a conversational tone in writing. You can see her work here
Stephanie Smith is a New York native who caught the fitness bug while earning a master's in journalism at the University of Missouri. A life-long victim of the YMCA family package, she didn't learn to really love fitness until she entered the renowned Mizzou rec room. Her one true love: glow in the dark cycling.
 
After maxing out her need for (stationary) speed, Stephanie decided to hit the pavement and actually try and go somewhere by joining her first half-marathon training group. She ultimately decided to combine her love of journalism, fitness and a conversational tone in writing. You can see her work here

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