How to Stay Active & Warm this Winter

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Infographic depicting how to layer clothing to stay warm while exercising with a base layer, mid layer, and outer layer.
Infographic from ACSM

Whether you are planning on exercising or socializing outdoors this winter we have some tips to help you stay warm! We want you to dress like an onion, and by that, we mean dress in layers. Here is a general guide for your “onion” layers:

1st Layer: You should wear wicking materials, made from a synthetic fabric or wool, against your skin. Opt for wicking undergarments, socks, and shirts. Avoid cotton, because if it gets wet it will stay wet and lose its insulating properties.

2nd Layer: Top your base layer with heat-retaining garments. These could include sweatshirts, flannels, insulated coats or vests. You may also want to wear thermal underwear, thick socks, gloves, and a hat or earmuffs.

3rd Layer: Put your wind blocking garments, like a windbreaker or raincoat, on last. Garments with a hood are ideal.

Exercising in the Cold

Plan to dress a bit more strategically when you are exercising in the cold. Your body will heat up as you get moving, and dressing in layers will help keep you at a comfortable temperature throughout your session. For reference, you may feel about 20 degrees warmer when running than if you are standing still. If it’s in the 50s, you will soon feel like it’s in the 70s. Prepare to begin your outdoor a little bit cold and warm up soon after you get started.

Always wear wicking materials as your undergarments and first layer! As you warm up and begin sweating you will want your clothes to pull the water off your body and dry quickly.

50s Temperatures: Wear shorts and a short sleeve as your base layer. Add a long sleeve to start, and plan to take it off once you warm up.

30s Temperatures: Wear long, insulated pants/leggings and the same top layers as if you’re dressing for the 50s. Add a windbreaker or insulated vest, a hat or earmuffs, and gloves.

Below 30s Temperatures: Use your judgment to determine if outdoor exercise is safe. If so, add a balaclava or scarf to protect your neck and face and consider an extra layer below your windbreaker or vest.

Socializing in the Cold

Follow the general guidelines for times when you are socializing outdoors. If you are going to be primarily sitting, consider adding another 1st or 2nd layer. Bring a chair or blanket to sit on too. A campfire or propane heater could be a great addition to your event and give extra warmth!

Whether you are exercising or socializing in the cold, drink enough water to stay hydrated. We hope you stay warm and safe this winter!

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One thought on “How to Stay Active & Warm this Winter

  1. Hello! Thanks for such a detailed and informative article. It seems to me that this is really very useful information, I emphasized a lot for myself after reading it. I always experience a feeling of cold, I can even freeze in the summer under a warm blanket, I’m not a grandmother yet, but it’s probably just a feature of my body, but it seems to me that this can be improved thanks to your advice on how to dress correctly. I also noticed earlier that it is better to dress in layers than one very warm thing. Thanks again for the tips, I’ll try to stick with them next times.

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