Winter fitness tips Part I: How to dress

Just because freezing weather and snow are upon is in many parts of the country doesn’t mean people have to move all their fitness inside.
Winter is a beautiful, exhilarating time of year to get outside for fresh air and exercise. If you play it smart, it’s just about the best cures to beat cabin fever.
Here are some tips on how to dress for winter workouts.
Know the weather forecast – Pay close attention to the weather forecast and dress accordingly.
Dress in layers – A common mistake for people who are going out into the cold for an extended period of time is to dress too warmly.
Exercise creates a good deal of extra body heat. Of course, once you stop moving the sweat will dry and you’ll cool down quickly and could feel cold.
That’s why dressing in layers is the key because you want to be able to remove one or two linings of clothing if you get too warm, but also have the ability to put them back on as needed.
Here’s a smart way to layer up:
* Start with a thin layer of synthetic material, such as polypropylene, which pulls sweat away from your body. People should avoid cotton on the first layer because it can stay wet next to the skin.
Follow that with a layer of fleece or wool for insulation.
Cap it off with a breathable outer layer, such as a lightweight, waterproof ski jacket or vest.
If you’re going to be in extremely cold conditions, you may add another inner layer. Also, if you’re a thinner person an extra layer may be required.
Take special precautions for hands, feet and head — During cold temperature days blood flow will be stronger on the body’s core, which sets up hands and feet easier for frostbite.
Make sure to wear gloves and warm socks. If you’re expecting to be outside longer then a smaller, inner layer of gloves and socks can help.
Pay attention to weather conditions and wind chill, especially if the temperatures drop below 0 Fahrenheit. You may want to just stay inside if it gets that cold, but if you go outside take even more precautions and try to get inside
A winter hat or headband will help keep warmth in. If it’s extremely cold consider wearing a face mask or scarf.
Final thought – Sometimes it takes a couple times to find the exact right combination of clothing to wear to exercise outdoors in the winter. A lot depends on how hard you’re exercising and what you’re doing. A jogger will dress differently than someone going sledding or skiing.
It gets dark earlier in the winter, so make sure to wear reflective clothing. Choose footwear with good traction as well to avoid slips.
Note: If you have health concerns or issues such as asthma consult a doctor before exercise in winter weather.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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