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Winter workout essentials

Laura Williams, M.S.Ed. is a personal trainer, freelance writer and entrepreneur who works with a wide variety of fitness clients. She's the founder of the popular website, - Girls Gone Sporty, and she's the host of the High Impact Blogg...

Weather your winter workout

The winter months bring rain, ice, snow and wind, making it more difficult to stick to a steady workout plan. If you don’t want to get sidelined during the long, cold months, make sure you’re prepared with these winter workout essentials.

Woman running in winter

Lightweight layers

Sweatshirts and ski pants may keep you warm, but their bulky materials can limit your range of motion during exercise. Instead of choosing clothing made of heavy materials, opt for lightweight, moisture-wicking layers that sit close to your body and allow full movement.

Start by topping your sports bra with a running tank, then add a long-sleeve base layer designed for cold-weather conditions. Do the same for your lower body by wearing performance underwear under a pair of full-length workout tights. Based on the weather conditions in your area, continue to add mid-layers, full-zip fleeces, pants and jackets as needed. The best thing about wearing layers is that as your body warms up during exercise, you can strip individual layers off to prevent overheating without getting too cold.

Weather resistant outers

There's nothing worse than slogging through a miserable workout in windy, wet and icy weather while wearing cotton workout gear that can't keep the elements out. When shopping for winter workout gear, look for terms like "water-resistant," "wind-resistant," "approved for temperatures below 40 degrees" and so forth. If you haven't been shopping for fitness apparel in awhile, you may be surprised at the technology that's available. Everything from shoes and socks to jackets and hoodies come in weather-resistant options, so spend your money wisely and opt for outers that can withstand the conditions common to your area.

Cold weather accessories

Have you ever noticed that your body can be toasty warm, but if your ears or fingers are cold, you feel terrible? It's important to remember this simple truth before heading outdoors for a winter workout. Stock up on beanies, ear-covering headbands, lightweight scarves or neck wraps and breathable gloves. If the conditions are very cold, windy or include driving rain, sleet or snow, protective eyewear and accessories designed to cover the nose and mouth may also come in handy — you don't want your mucus membranes to dry out and cause you pain or discomfort.

Reflective gear

Winter days are short, so chances are your outdoor workouts will take place as the light is fading or gone. Stay safe and remain visible by choosing workout gear with reflective striping. You may also want to look into reflective running vests or safety lights specifically designed to enhance visibility.

MORE FITNESS TIPS

Workout gear for winter runs
Setting up a workout schedule
Ways to motivate yourself to get fit

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