10 Tips on Staying Warm When Exercising Outside

By: proctor - January 8, 2008
Runner's World has some great tips I want to share with you about keeping up our workouts through the winter-thanks to Yishane Lee for such helpful information!

1. Get Motivated

Make a plan to meet someone. You won't leave someone waiting outside in the cold, so it is a great motivator! If it's really miserable, tell yourself you can go back inside after five minutes. That might be all it takes to get your body temperature high enough to want to stay outside.

2. Arm Your Feet

Wear shoes that have little or no mesh. Keeping your feet warm and dry will keep your whole body more comfortable. Invest in a pair of wicking socks like SmartWool or ThorLo.

3. Get Dressed

Dress warmly enough that you won't be uncomfortably cold, but not so warm that you sweat. That could lead to getting chilled too quickly in your workout. Keep your ears and head covered, and wear running gloves to keep your hands warm. Gloves are an easy way to shed s little clothing to get a lot more comfortable if you overheat without having to carry an extra fleece you thought you'd need. If it's 30 degrees, wear 2 tops, 1 bottom. Add a bottom layer for 10-20 degrees. 0 degrees? 3 tops and 2 bottoms should do the trick.

4. Be Seen

Wear white and flourescent gear, and reflective tape or markings on your clothes whenever possible. Especially with snowbanks in the road, drivers often will not be able to see pedestrians even when they try (their windshields get too dirty on the edges to see you coming!) so use extra caution, especially after dusk. In dark areas with no street lights, a head lamp is even a good idea.

5. Warm up Beforehand

Put your layers on before you are actually ready to walk outside and get your blood moving before you leave so you have a little bit of heat already built up. Make sure you take off before you get uncomfortably hot though, because you don't want to start perspiring.

6. Deal with Wind

Start with your run or walk or cycle route into the breeze and finish with it at your back so that the breeze doesn't blast you after sweating.If the wind is really tough, use BodyGlide on your nose and cheeks to keep the wind from chapping that exposed area. Also, I always put Carmex or Chapstick on just before I lace up my shoes.

7. Forget Speed

Winter exercising often should be more about maintenance than setting new records. Keep a steady pace and observe your comfort level and sweat level. Don't let yourself get too cold. It would be better to do two short runs in a day than one long one during which you may get too cold by the end to maintain proper form and enjoy the run.

8. Change Quickly Afterwards

Your core body temperature will drop quickly after exercising, so get to your dry clothes as soon as you can after your workout. Try to stretch at least your hamstrings, quads, and calves before you cool down too much so that you don't get stiff and suffer the next day.

9. Deal with Rain

Rain is good! However, it can make you want to turn back and skip your workout. Instead, have a designated pair of "rain shoes", running or walking shoes that have been through the rain before thus are a little dirtier than your newest pair, that you don't mind getting wet. Have a dry pair close by that you can change into as soon as you are done. A great trick for running through puddles and keeping your feet dry: put your socks on, slip your feet into baggies, then lace up your shoes. Take it easy on turns, as you will have less grip in your shoe. But, you'll avoid blisters and hit your goal of working out.

10. Go Someplace Warm

There are a lot of southern states that offer races in the winter, the only time their climate is mild enough to run hard with heat exhaustion. So, pick out a race and sign up, then use it as a reason not to skip your run and to enjoy a little rest from the frigid winter of your hometown.

About the Submitter


I have been an ACE certified personal trainer since 2000 who has trained over 3000 hours. I specialize in pre- and post-natal fitness, stretching, running, and weight loss. Yoga is also a passion for me and a way of life. I received my Yoga Alliance Teacher Certification in India and love to share the calmness, strength, and openness that yoga offers to people of all ages and abilities.

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