Keep Warm When Exercising Outside

If you think winter cold means being begrudgingly relegated to the couch, it's time to get up, get dressed, and get outside to spite it.

running in winterEarlier this month, Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter, and judging by the arctic chill currently blasting half the country, the groundhog was right. But before you resign to working out indoors until April, consider stepping outside for your daily run or power walk. The change of scenery will refresh you, plus studies show that walking or running outside is key to treating seasonal depression.

So, ready to go? Here is how to make sure you have got the gear that will keep you warm while you are out there:

Head Case: Listen to mom: You do lose a ton of body heat through your head (up to 40%, according to OSHA). So before you take off, grab a proper topper, like Pearl Izumi's Accelerator hat, lined with super-soft fleece, keeping you itch-free, warm, and cute all at the same time.

Base Layers: Instead of pulling on a heavy sweatshirt (or two), layer at least three lighter items, which will trap your body heat and absorb your sweat. Under Armour's ColdGear SubZero Mock clings tightly to the skin, creating a spandex shield from frigid wind chills. Top that with their less-snug Velocity Pullover and a windbreaker (see Top Coat, below), and you will be good to go.

Top Coat: Sure, Gore-Tex parkas are great for skiing, but bulky jackets will just drag you down on a run or walk. When exercising (especially in snow, rain, or sleet), swap your oversize coat for a more slim-fitting waterproof windbreaker. Marmot's Original DriClime Windshirt works to wick away moisture while fighting off nasty headwinds.

Tighten Up: You may think spandex tights belong on superheroes, but there is something to be said about lycra leggings. Acting like a second-skin, tights like the adidas Supernova not only insulate your legs, but the also support your muscles. If you are not ready (or willing) to rock the tights look, try a looser-fitting style of pants, like Moving Comfort's NoChill Hybrid Pants, which are wind -- and sweat -- resistant.

To the Extremes: Situated at the far reaches of your body, your feet and toes are the last parts to warm up during exercise. To keep your tootsies toasty, wear heavy-duty, moisture-wicking socks, like those by Drymax, or double up on your standard socks (you may have to up the size of your running shoes to accommodate the extra girth). And to prevent frozen fingers, trade your gloves for mittens, Manzella's Windpro Mitten will give your fingers wiggle room, letting them warm each other. In addition, if socks and mittens fail to keep you comfortably warm, check out Heat Max's HotHands products. Choose from air-activated heat-emitting pouches that cozily slip into your socks, gloves, and pockets or, for really cold weather, opt for the heated socks and gloves.

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