- Layer Your Clothes
Start with a base layer made from a material that wicks perspiration away from your skin. This will help keep you dry and warm. Polypropylene, capilene, silk, polyester, Thermax, Thinsulate, and wool are all good choices. Avoid cotton because it traps moisture, so it stays wet and draws heat from you. Base layers come in various weights (lightweight, midweight and heavyweight). Select a weight based upon the outside temperature and your activity level. The lighter weight is better at wicking, the heavyweight has more insulation.
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- Warm Up Your Feet and Hands Before Going Outside
If I start my winter workout with cold feet, they never really warm up, so I've learned to soak my hands and feet in hot water before I head out on my winter runs. This little tip hasn't let me down yet. My feet stay warm for the entire workout.
- Choose Your Socks Wisely
Stay away from cotton. Once cotton socks are wet (either from sweat or slush) they will stay wet and they will quickly pull heat away from your feet. Choose socks like you choose your base layer, made from material that wicks moisture from your skin. Wool, merino wool and CoolMax are all good choices.
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- Choose Your Shoes Wisely
Depending upon what sport you're playing, you can often find shoes just for winter exercise. Trail running shoes made of waterproof liners, such as Goretex, will help keep rain, slush and snow from soaking your feet, but let the moisture from sweat escape. Cyclists will want try have a pair of shoe covers to insulate and block both wind and rain.
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Get Some Traction
Walking or running on slick snow-covered trails or pavement doesn't have to be treacherous if you add a bit of traction to your shoes. YakTrax and STABILicers offers a variety of styles of traction cleats you easily attach to your shoes for added stability in winter weather.
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Cover Your Head and Hands
This probably goes without saying, but wear a hat and gloves (or mittens) when you are exercising outside. You can always take them off and tuck them in a pocket if you overheat, but going without and you risk frostbite.
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Protect from Wind Chill
Keep in mind that the stronger the winds, the colder the temperature will feel. The Wind Chill Index shows how wind affects perceived air temperature.
Your local National Weather Service will issue a wind chill advisory or warning when weather conditions are likely to increase the risk of frostbite and hypothermia. In general, a Wind Chill advisory is issued when the wind chill temperature is expected to fall below -15 degrees Fahrenheit.
On these days, the gym just may be a pretty good option.