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Dressing for cold weather is easier than ever with all the great high tech fabrics currently available. Choose breathable fabrics that wick moisture from the body and dry quickly.

Start with a thin base layer. In temps from 40 to 60 this may be all you need. Remember, the rule of thumb is to dress for temps about 20 degrees higher than they actually are. You may be slightly cool to begin with, but you will be warm as soon as your body gets moving.

When the temperature is below 40 you will probably need a second layer. This should be a thin outer shell to help keep out wind and cold. (If you live in an area with much winter precipitation be sure this layer is wind and water proof.) Add gloves and a headband. These can be removed as you warm up and replaced when you are chilled.

As the temperature drops add an insulating (thermal) layer. This is an inner layer between the base layer and the outer shell that holds in your body heat. Once again, be sure this is a good quality, breathable, wicking fabric. Exchange your headband for a hat and scarf, or a neck gaiter.

Don't forget your feet. Waterproof hiking boots are widely available. They may need to be a size larger than your usual walking shoes in order to accommodate thicker (or extra layers) of socks. For some added fun try a pair of snow shoes.

Some good fabric choices for winter clothing include Thermax, Polar Fleece, Cool Max, Thinsulate, Gortex, wool, etc. Stay away from cotton as it absorbs and retains moisture.

Additional tips -
  • If you need additional layers add them, but stick with several thin layers rather than one or two bulky layers.

  • Take wind chill into consideration when dressing.
    Winds = temperature drop
    10 mph = 15 degrees
    15 mph = 20 degrees
    20 mph = 25 degrees
    30 mph = 35 degrees

  • Watch your step. You may have to slow down in some weather conditions.

  • Wear reflective clothing or add reflective tape to your clothing.

  • Be sure to wear sunblock and sunglasses.

  • Don't forget your water.

  • Here are some online resources for good quality fitness/outdoor clothing -

    Fogdog Sports

    Road Runner Sports


    Indoor Alternatives

    With cooler weather coming many are inclined to bring their workouts indoors. There are many alternatives to outdoor walking (for those really nasty days). To keep on track with your fitness program you may consider the following:

    Mall walking - Although I wouldn't want to walk the mall on a nice day ... mall walking does have some advantages. It never rains inside the mall, there are people to walk with, it is relatively safe, and you can window shop while getting your workout. Many malls have their own mall walkers clubs.

    Also try your neighborhood school. Some schools have opened their halls to walkers in the evenings.

    Indoor tracks - check your local Y or fitness club. Some allow use of their indoor track for a minimal fee.

    Treadmill walking - Treadmill walking may be one of the best alternatives to walking outdoors. If time, personal safety, allergies, or weather conditions, limit your outdoor walking a treadmill can be a great asset.

    Fitness Videos - For variety and fun try a new fitness video. Their is a huge selection of fitness videos available. Since likes, dislikes and abilities vary; it is a good idea to try a video before you purchase it. Borrow a few videos from your friends and see which ones suit your needs. Also, some videos can be checked out from your local library or rented at the video rental store. Purchase videos through our Online Store, Collage Video, or your local discount store (i.e. Target, Wal-Mart, etc.).

    Related Articles

    7 Tips for Walking in the Rain - From - You don't have to huddle indoors when it's raining - with the right gear you can be singing and walking in the rain.

    Battling Bugs - Staying on your feet during the cold and flu season. Article by Dave McGovern racewalking columnist at