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Prepare for the oncoming cold

Nov. 14, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Whether there's snow in the air or the temperature is on its way down, the winter weather will affect your outdoor workouts. Don't dread the cold or let it hinder your workouts, just be prepared. The key to comfortable cold weather workouts is what you wear.

Don't overdress. One of the biggest mistakes people make when dressing for cold weather workouts is overdressing. If you wear clothes that are too heavy or warm, you start to sweat. Once your clothes are sweat-soaked, they can lose as much as 90 percent of their insulating capabilities. Opt for wicking layers instead.

Layer up. Dress in layers and choose fabrics that keep perspiration away from your body to retain body heat. Your inner layer, the layer of clothing next to your skin, should be lightweight, snug-fitting and able to wick perspiration. Look for tanks or undershirts made of synthetics or acrylics designed for this purpose. Your middle layer, your insulation layer, should resist moisture and provide warmth. Choose a slightly thicker fabric that fits loosely over your inner layer to trap the air warmed by exercise-generated heat. Micro-fleece and thermal tops work well. Your outer layer, or protective shell, is to shield you from the harsh outdoor elements. Go for some type of waterproof and/or wind jacket.

Your legs. If there's one part of the body you want to keep comfortable on a freezing run, it's your lower body. Just like your upper body, wear layers. Start with moisture-wicking, running tights. Cover with some warm sweats or wind pants to keep in the heat and keep you dry.

Dress your feet and fingers for the elements. Choose socks made of wicking fabric to keep your feet warm and dry. There are a variety of wool and nylon socks that trap warmth and wick away sweat. Cotton socks will hold sweat, cause blisters, and might give you frozen feet. Make sure your feet have some traction for the winter terrain and make sure they're the correct fit for proper circulation. For your hands, use mittens as opposed to gloves because they keep your hands warmer.

Don't forget your head. You'll need a hat because at least 40 percent of body heat escapes through your head.

Keep the fire of your metabolism burning and avoid the doldrums of winter by getting outdoors. With just a little prep time, you can safely keep up your calorie burn and keep your body and skin protected.

Fit Tips are provided by Life Fitness, the leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality exercise equipment for fitness facilities and homes worldwide. For more information on Fit Tips and other fitness advice and expertise visit www.lifefitness.com/blog.

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