The temperature is on its way down, but don’t let that stop you from getting your outdoor workout in. Don’t dread the cold or let it hinder your workouts, just be prepared. The key to comfortable cold weather workouts is to be ready!
One of the biggest mistakes people make when dressing for cold weather workouts is overdressing. If you wear clothes that are too heavy or warm, you start to sweat, and sweat-soaked will cause you to lose more body heat. Opt for wicking layers instead.
Dress in layers and choose fabrics that keep perspiration away from your body to retain body heat. Your inner layer, the layer of clothing next to your skin, should be lightweight, snug-fitting and able to wick perspiration. Look for tanks or undershirts made of synthetics or acrylics designed for this purpose. Your middle layer, your insulation layer, should resist moisture and provide warmth. Choose a slightly thicker fabric that fits loosely over your inner layer to trap the air warmed by exercise-generated heat. Micro-fleece and thermal tops work well. Your outer layer, or protective shell, is to shield you from the harsh outdoor elements. Go for some type of waterproof and/or wind jacket.
Protect feet and fingers from the elements
Choose socks made of wicking fabric to keep your feet warm and dry. There are a variety of wool and nylon socks that trap warmth and wick away sweat. Cotton socks will hold sweat, cause blisters, and might give you frozen feet. For your hands, use mittens as opposed to gloves because they keep your hands warmer.
Listen to Your Body
What happens when you you’re forced to stay out in the cold longer than you expected? What if the temperature is lower than you thought? Although preparation is crucial to training in the cold, listening to your body is even more important. Since sweating lowers the core body temperature, long workouts in the cold can put athletes at risk for hypothermia if they ignore warning signs.
When training in the winter, constantly evaluate yourself for signs of hypothermia, and get indoors when things start to get dangerous. Classic signs of hypothermia include skin that feels cold to the touch, slow reflexes and shallow breathing. Move indoors if you start shivering uncontrollably, and seek help immediately if you start to feel clumsy, weak or disoriented.
If you notice any signs of hypothermia, seek indoor shelter immediately and medical attention as soon as possible. Drink something warm, not hot. Remove all wet clothing to prevent your body from cooling any further. Focus on heating up the center of your body with an electric blanket or layers of dry, loose clothing.