How to Layer for Outdoor Workouts this Winter

The weather has started to change and you might feel your motivation changing with it. However, cold weather doesn’t have to put an end to your workout regime. In fact, there are many benefits of working out during the winter! The right layering and cold-weather protection might be just the push to get back out there this winter!

Frostbite and hypothermia are serious safety concerns when exercising outside during the winter. However, the answer isn’t necessarily to dress in one very warm layer. Dressing too warmly or in one bulky layer might actually do more harm than good.

Why Layer?

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It’s no secret that exercising generates a large amount of heat. You will probably feel a lot different about the weather at the end of the workout than the beginning. Dressing in layers allows you to remove clothes as you sweat then put them back as needed. Moreover, layers allow you to adjust your clothing on exercise intensity.

The Base Layer

Keep away from cotton as the base layer! The clothing layer against the skin should remove moisture from the body’s surface. Removing sweat from the body is also known as wicking. The base layer should wick moisture away from the body and to the next insulating clothing layer for evaporation. Usually when sweat is evaporated off the body, it is to cool off the body during a workout. However, we want a material that removes sweat without causing us to lose body heat. The best wicking materials are wool or synthetics such as polypropylene. Starting with one of these as your base layer will insulate well and quickly dry sweat off you.

The Middle Layer

This middle layer is the main insulating layer. The more efficient an insulator, the warmer you will be during your workout. Some examples of middle layers are insulated down jackets, synthetic down jackets and fleece. However, fleece does not protect against wind as well as down and often requires a top layer.

The Outer Layer

The outer layer is the protection layer. The outer layer is the most important protection against stormy weather. An inefficient or no outer layer will allow water and wind to penetrate the lower layers and lead to possibly hypothermia. A waterproof or water-resistant breathable jacket is the best choice for a top layer. Here are some options to check out some options at REI!

Top it Off

Nearly 30-40% of the body’s heat dissipates through the head! Don’t forget to add gloves and a hat when exercising outside. In cold weather blood tends to stay near the organs, making hands and feet vulnerable to frost bite. Try adding a second pair of socks or a pair of wicking gloves under your existing pair!

Contact Us!

Remember to check out our winter sunscreen post before heading out! If you want to learn more about exercising this winter or layering give us a call today! Direct Access in NJ allows you to get in for an evaluation without you having to see your Doctor, probably quicker than you could even get that appointment, while also saving you both time and money!  

Please, call us to schedule you evaluation at one of BeneFIT’s locations in Bridgewater (908.203.5200) or Chester (908.879.5700)  with one of our highly-trained Doctors of Physical Therapy!