How to Dress for Winter Workouts

Patient Expert

Winter is here, and if you love to workout outside, you will need to keep yourself warm and protected from the elements. The secret to winter workout wear is to layer your clothes so the heat gets trapped between the layers to keep you warm. Each layer has a specific function: moisture wicking, insulating and windbreaking. Sometimes these functions are combined, but each layer has to provide at least one of these functions. If not, you'll become wet from perspiration, and eventually you'll get cold.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing your clothing for outdoor workouts:

  • Avoid cotton. Cotton is a great for t-shirts and sheets, but is NOT for working out Cotton absorbs moisture, so it becomes heavy when it gets wet. If you wear cotton as your base layer, it is going to cling to you and be very uncomfortable.
  • Wear a base layer. Your base layer top should be moisture-wicking material and should fit close to the skin.
  • Choose the right pants. For your legs, you should choose moisturewicking, close-to-the-skin tights. If it is dry and the temperature is above freezing, tights should be enough. However, in wet and really cold weather you will need a pair of waterproof and/or windproof pants.
  • Let your body breathe. Wear a lightweight, breathable jacket over your base layer on days that the temperature is above freezing. Because they "breathe", jackets allow the moisture that has been pulled off your skin by the base layer to escape. The breathability also keeps you from overheating as your body warms up.
  • Wear a shell. When it's very cold (or wet and windy) choose outerwear that is waterproof and windproof.
  • Change your socks. Remember to protect your feet too! Wear two pairs of socks for warmth--a thin pair that wicks moisture next to your skin, covered by a thicker insulating outer sock.
  • Protect your extremeties. Always wear hats and gloves that will block the wind.
  • They are called layers for a reason! Take layers off and put them back on as needed.

Keep in mind that you don't have to shop at specialty stores to get your workout wear. Target and Kohls have great selections for fitness clothing at very reasonable prices.

Now that you are "in the know' about what to wear, there is no excuse to skip your outdoor workout!