Cold weather brings with it the uncertainty of outdoor exercise and leaves many of us trudging away on the treadmill in a poorly heated gym. But, if you can get outside, as long as the temperature is not encroaching on frostbite territory, then you should. Being outdoors is good for the mind, body and soul.
Wearing layers is the best way to stay warm in the cold weather as the layers trap in air, which acts as an insulator. You can always remove layers if you are too hot and add them if you are too cold. The general rule of thumb is, dress for 5 degrees warmer than it is, as your body will naturally create heat when you start your workout. A good base layer which is moisture wicking and well fitting is essential as this is your first layer of warmth and you do not want to trap in the sweat which will, in turn, make you colder no matter how many more layers you wear. After that, depending on the outside temperature (don’t forget the windchill factor!) a moisture wicking t-shirt, and a waterproof jacket.
That’s the core sorted! Now, don’t forget your extremities. Your hands, feet, head and face will get cold. A hat is essential as a lot of heat will be lost out of your head. A reflective one, for the dark, is even better such as the Reflective Beanie - https://locketloves.com/collections/new-arrivals/products/black-reflective-hat
Gloves are essential for keeping your hands warm (obvious really!) and dry and are a mandatory piece of kit for a lot of races.
A tube scarf can help not only keep your face and neck warm, but also help you to breathe when the air gets cold. As the cold air hits your lungs, it can feel uncomfortable and tight when breathing, and make you feel very unproductive, however, a tube scarf can dampen the cold air to make it warmer, and thus breathing easier. It also won’t fall off as easily as a normal scarf when moving about.
If you are planning on heading off road this winter, or attempting to run in the snow and ice, then trail shoes with spikes will be an essential part of your kit. You can either buy the spikes separately and fit them onto your current trail shoes, or buy shoes which have them already fitted.
Normal running shoes do not have the grip or stability needed for multiple terrains, and risk injury if used for this purpose.
You should also still hydrate in the Winter. Although it isn’t as hot, your body still sweats to regulate your temperature and so you need to replenish fluids lost in exercise.
Now that the long, light Summer nights are slowly turning into darker, chilly Winter evenings you need to stay safe out there, it’s not all about the cold at this time of year.
Be Seen - As the nights are getting darker, you will need to make sure you can be seen easily. Reflective clothing such as a high viz vest or rechargeable LED lights are an essential bit of kit. Don’t forget to light up your dogs too as they also need to be seen. A head torch is also a good idea so you can see where you are walking. Be aware of trip hazards you may not be able to see so easily in the daytime. It is also worth thinking about wearing brighter colours such as a neon yellow jacket or some highly patterned leggings so you can be seen even more clearly such as our activewear collection.
Another thing to think about is your warm ups and cool down. You will probably want to warm up in the house before leaving. It is extra important to warm up your muscles in the colder weather, and take a little more time to prepare yourself, to avoid injury. Bold, dynamic stretching, star jumps, and jogging on the spot will increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles to warm you up.
There does however come a point where you need to hang up the high-viz and call it a day. If the windchill is below 0 degrees celsius, the wind is gusting enough to blow you off your feet, or you can’t see the ground for snow. Each of us are individuals who have their own threshold and what is too much for some, is the proverbial walk in the park for others.
However you decide to spend your winter evenings, a brisk walk in the crisp air can help maintain good physical and mental health and make you feel fantastic.