Exercise in Cold Weather? Do it!

Some studies show that exercising outside burns more calories, and the fresh clear cold air makes us feel more alert and energized.

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. The right footwear and clothes will allow you to enjoy outdoor exercise and fresh air during the winter months. It’s worth dropping the extra $ on good gear to keep your healthy habits going. Make sure you have the right footwear too – boots with grip, or slip-on traction devices help a lot. Reflective gear, or clip on lights are important because it gets dark early and you want to be easily seen by motorists. End of season sales are the best to prepare for next year.

Avoid getting wet, because then you will chill more easily. Dress in layers that you can remove as soon as you start to sweat and then put back on as needed. First, put on a thin layer of synthetic material, such as polypropylene, which draws sweat away from your body. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin. Next, add a layer of fleece or wool for insulation. Top this with a waterproof, breathable outer layer. If you need more warmth add another layer of wool or fleece. I tend to wear 3-5 layers on top and 2-3 layers on my lower half and bike around in Maine winters just fine. I take all of it off down to a work out top when I arrive somewhere and dry off my inner layer. Makes for some interesting conversations.

If you are wearing the right clothes, you won’t shiver (which burns many calories, but isn’t fun) so your caloric burn will be about the same as if you were exercising in comfortable weather. The bonus comes from feeling great for exercise, sunlight, fresh air, not sharing indoor air and surfaces with lots of possibly rhinovirus-infected people.

Get out there! Check the weather, dress appropriately, hydrate and keep moving!