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Gearing up for the cold



One thing is for sure: We are definitely feeling the dark and cold days here! But we are not giving up on getting outside for fresh air and a great run or workout in the open!


Photographs: Pexels

Text: Alexandra Beck


The air is crisp, and the idea of breathing in the freshness is appealing, yet we have snow.


It’s sometimes a bit of a mission to dress for success when it’s cold, but you get hot and sweaty while exercising. How on earth does one work out with ever-changing body temperatures without freezing or overheating? Being well-equipped and prepared for winter workouts is the best way to stay motivated and enjoy them - layers are key!


1. BASE LAYER

A good quality base layer will keep your body temperature regulated. Avoid cotton that will absorb sweat and stay wet, and opt for the best sweat-wicking material you can afford. Merino wool is my top pick - with its natural anti-bacterial properties, it will keep you cool during your workout and warm as you cool down or stretch. The best part is that it also keeps the smell at bay! Synthetic fibres are also high-wicking and fast-drying, which makes them a great base-layer material - they will work with your skin and any outer layers to keep you at the right temperature throughout your workout and reduce chafing.


2. MID LAYER

If the weather is poor, an insulated jacket may be your best option. For colder days, a thicker fleece or merino sweater will be great. Sometimes, your mid-layer can be used as an outer layer if the weather is dry and wind-free. The mid-layer job is to insulate, which means it will keep your body warm as you move, so it should fit comfortably between your base and outer layers and loosely enough to allow heated air between it and your body but not loose enough for that air to escape. Another great mid-layer material choice is down - it’s exceptional at insulating due to its warmth-to-weight properties.



3. OUTER LAYER

The role of your outer layer will be to protect you from wind and rain. So, a windproof running jacket and loose-fitting running pants (to wear over tights) will work well. Look for wind-blocking fabrics that breathe, like a polyester blend and avoid rubber or plastic, as these will allow moisture to build.


4. HEAD, HAND AND FOOTWEAR

Wear a hat or headband, gloves and thermal socks. Protect your head and neck, as a great deal of heat escapes from these. As with your base layer, you will want to choose a hat or headband made of technical materials to keep warmth and sweat out.


Our extremities (feet and hands) are especially prone to cold. As our body temperature drops, blood from the extremities is shunted to our core, which can shield us against hypothermia but can leave our fingers and toes susceptible to frostbite. So be sure to wear gloves or mittens that provide appropriate insulation.


As for your feet, remember the points about material choice above. It’s usually best to keep the same thickness of socks you wear with your shoes but opt for longer versions to ensure ankle coverage.


The trick to staying warm during your winter training is to be well-prepared. Once a good set of layers is ready, you can add/remove items depending on weather conditions. You will see that once you are well-equipped, there will be nothing more fun and exhilarating than a good workout outdoors during winter! Hopefully, these tips will encourage you to keep up your great fitness routines during the cooler months and help you invest in the right equipment for a successful outdoor workout!

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