Temperatures are beginning to drop in many parts of the country, but that doesn’t mean we have a hall pass to halt our outdoor workouts. Every year, millions of men and women continue breaking a sweat al fresco despite a harsh wind chill. So how do they do it?
Wearing the right workout gear is definitely part of it. But it’s not just about finding something warm—dressing too warmly while exercising in cold is one of the biggest mistakes people make, according to the Mayo Clinic. While you want to keep your body temperature below 104 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid overheating, you don’t want it to fall below 95 degrees F when it is susceptible to hypothermia.
“At the start of your workout, you need to protect your body from the cold temperature, but as you exercise and your body temperature increases, you will want to cool it down again,” explains LivingHealthy expert and celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza, whose client list has included Jessica Alba, Halle Berry and Jessica Biel. “Therefore, layers are the best option for working out outdoors, as I found out when I climbed Kilimanjaro.”
Braganza advises, “The layer closest to your skin should be made of sweat-wicking properties to keep you dry; the next layer, insulation such as fleece to keep the heat in; and the outer layer, a shell that’s waterproof and wind-resistant that breathes well.” (The innermost layer, in order to work properly, usually involves a chemically treated polyester blend, woven in a way that moisture is forced into and through the gaps of the weave in order to find its way from your body to the outer shell of the material.) When Braganza climbed Kilimanjaro, she also wore liner gloves with mitts, a face mask at times and a neck warmer. “If it’s milder weather, a hat or headband may be enough,” she adds.
While dominating Kilimanjaro may not be on your radar, LivingHealthy has put together a list of 10 cold-weather workout gear essentials that will keep you dry and toasty during your run, hike, climb or bike ride—or when you’re just getting to and from yoga class or the gym. Layer up and get moving!