It’s pouring outside as I write this. I have a freshly made cup of tea and have reluctantly turned the heating on after adding a scarf to my work-from-home attire (sports gear and thick woolly socks). My granny cat is snuggled next to me on the couch and my laptop keyboard is gratifyingly warm under my cold fingers. I’ve just checked the BBC weather app (again) to see if the forecast is still fine for my three hours of outdoor bootcamps tomorrow morning. It shouldn’t matter— we train in all weather— but I can’t deny the sense of relief when I see that it is still going to be a dry morning.
Although it’s easy to look at winter with suspicion from your snug home, the truth is exercising in winter can be a lot of fun especially when you have the right gear. It’s particularly important to exercise safely considering that the cold, ice and occasional showers can make exercising in winter tougher to handle and a bit riskier than in summer months. This is why you should invest in the right gear if you’re determined to keep up your outdoor fitness routine throughout autumn and winter.
If money is tight right now, fear not. TK Maxx and Sports Direct are great places to find discounted fitness kits. Mountain Warehouse is also worth a look for outdoor kits that cover most ends of the budget.
Now, here are 5 pieces of workout attire you should definitely invest in if you haven’t done so already.
1. A light, breathable waterproof jacket
Actually, this is a must if you’re an all-weather exerciser. It’s essentially an armour for your body when it’s rainy or drizzly outdoors. Once you’re out in it, you’ll feel impervious and dry inside. However, this is one item you don’t want to skimp on— if it’s not designed to breathe, you may end up in a sweat bath underneath, and that sweat can turn very chilly if you cool off before home (or run out of steam!).
2. A light or mid-weight vest with pockets
Here’s the thing: it’s not a good idea to dress for comfort in the cold when you’re headed for an outdoors winter workout because if you do, you’re going to cook when your workout kicks in.
You have to steel yourself to feel the chill of winter when you walk out of your warm home. Take a couple of minutes to revel in the chill of the winter air knowing you’re going to be able to heat regulate better for the next 30 minutes or so. A light or mid-weight vest with pockets helps you keep your chest warm. You can adjust the zip up and down as needed, and you’ll be able to let off excess heat through your armpits and arms instead of trapping it under thick sleeves.
The pockets are also very useful. They’ll keep your phone and keys snug to your body (instead of flapping around) and protected from the rain or snow.
3. A breathable, moisture wicking base layer
Moisture wicking fabrics are often used to make base layer sportswear because they quickly soak sweat away from the body and are designed to be non-clammy or sticky against the skin despite all the sweat.
Again, don’t hesitate to invest in a good moisture wicking base layer. Spend the money or go hunting for a great bargain. Don’t settle for using that old skivvy you have lying around as this is the layer that really decides whether you get soaked with sweat, with subsequent chill risk, or you stay relatively dry throughout.
4. A pair of medium or light waterproof gloves
Cycling gloves are your best bet for budget workout gloves. If you’re not planning to put your hands on the ground, a lighter pair is fine. But if you’re going to be doing bodyweight training, you’ll want something more water resistant to keep your hands warm and dry— frozen fingers quickly take the fun out of a winter workout!
As you warm up, you may even discover you can take them off, but you’ll be glad to have them to put back on when cooling down. And remember, touchscreen gloves are a must if you’ll be using an app for your workout, unless you don’t mind pulling one hand in and out to use the screen.
5. Outdoor training shoes
Shoes with good support and grip are required for any outdoor training. This means that those shoes you’ve had for years need to go. Their soles are probably so worn by now that they’ve lost much of their ability to absorb impact or retain adequate grip. You definitely want to be sure there’s decent grip on your winter exercising shoes for safety while working out in wet and potentially icy conditions.
For waterproof (or water resistant) trainers with good grip and good support, look up Gore-Tex waterproof outdoor trainers. They have a good range of options that are both rugged and quite durable.
‘Safety first’ is the mantra when it comes to outdoor winter exercise and exercising safely is damn near impossible if you haven’t got the right gear. These 5 items are basics. However, it’s up to you to figure out what else you might need to feel safe and be safe while exercising outdoors during winter. Getting a light winter hat or earmuffs might be a good idea to protect your head and ears. You might also consider leg warmers to wear underneath on particularly cold days.
I really hope you enjoyed reading this, please feel free to contact me for more information on firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, remember to Try Episode 1 of Apocalypse Survival Training for FREE!