Gear to Stay Warm During Your Winter Workout
The winter months may be cold, but that is no reason to quit your outdoor workouts for the season. Clothing is available that can keep you toasty warm and able to withstand the elements. You will find you enjoy and look forward to your workout when you have the right equipment. Below are excellent tips on what to buy and wear to motivate you to get outside in the fresh air. Getting out will help you beat the winter doldrums that are so prevalent this time of year.
Eye Protection - Glasses or Goggles
Dark glasses are needed when it is sunny to protect your eyes from the glare. The eyewear will also keep you from squinting and causing eye strain, as well as those unwanted lines around the edges. Look for glasses with both UVA and UVB protection for complete protection from the sun and its harmful rays. Wrap around dark glasses and goggles can be found that offer even more protection. If you are skiing or snowboarding, the wrap-around type is essential to protect you from flying snow hitting your eyes. This eyewear will also protect you from snow blindness, which can damage the cornea.
If you are exerting yourself during your winter workout, you will break into a sweat. Make sure you have moisture-wicking clothing to help dissipate the moisture. Otherwise, you could find yourself feeling wet and damp. In turn, you will be freezing and uncomfortable. It would be best if you avoided hypothermia at all costs. Make sure to buy wicking material for your hands and feet as these two areas are the most prone to frostbite. A couple of layers of gloves or socks with the wicking material underneath will work fine. If you feel yourself starting to sweat in these areas, you can always take the top layer off.
Ski Mask or Balaclava
This headwear is particularly valuable if you are skiing or snowboarding or outside on a cold and windy day. Most are made of wool and come with openings for your eyes, nose, and mouth or have a full-face opening. Some keep your eyes uncovered. The ones that cover more of the face are more beneficial for keeping your face warm. When out on the slopes or a windy day, your face can get very chapped and sore if left to the elements. If you want to avoid a red and irritated face, this gear is essential. You may look like a criminal in these masks, but they have many benefits in the cold and wind. I used to wear a full balaclava when I was out riding my horse in the winter. I would put my riding hat over it for protection, and it did help keep me warm. Without it, I would get a frozen face when galloping over the fields.
These pants are essential if you are going to be in deeper snow. They will help keep your legs warm and dry. Most have a waterproof rating between 5,000 and 20,000mm. How high a number you need to go depends on what you are doing and where you are. Certain areas are much wetter than others, so if you are in a more humid area, you might want a high number. Some are insulated, and some are unlined. The unlined version is lighter and easier to move in, and you can layer underneath if they do not seem warm enough. To keep the snow out of your boots, you should look for pants with gaiters. Some models of snow pants have bibs like overalls. These provide the ultimate protection and warmth. You will not have to worry about snow getting down your back. As a kid, my mother used to always put snow pants on me when I went to play in the snow. Your mother may have done so too. They really do work. Mother knows best, after all.
Heated Glove or Shoe Inserts
For most people, the feet and hands are the areas most likely to suffer from the cold. I have Raynaud's disease myself, and with two pairs of gloves on, I will suffer from numb fingers when it is slightly above freezing outside. If you have Raynaud's like me, heated inserts or gloves are a must out in the cold. Many other people will benefit from these too. Especially if you plan on spending hours out in the cold. Heated insole inserts come battery powered as well as electrically rechargeable and come waterproof as well. Many varieties of heated gloves are available. You can buy less expensive one-use glove inserts too. All of these will do the trick, so choose whichever will work best for you and your budget.
Wool or Fleece Clothing
Both fabrics make a great mid-layer when outdoors in winter. Fleece could be considered a synthetic version of wool. The material is lighter and less expensive overall. It is also very breathable and quick drying. All excellent characteristics to have on winter workouts. Wool is more expensive, but it will last a long time. It resists odors, so it does not require much washing. The material is water repellent, so it will keep you drier for longer. Wool breathes wonderfully so you will not overheat. Both fabrics work great for keeping you warm. Cost and longevity are the most significant differences.
Do you workout in winter?
Use these suggestions to get some of the best gear to keep you warm over the winter. Shop around as prices can vary widely. It is essential to keep your comfort level high to maintain your motivation and to ensure your safety.