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Fitness and Health

Fitness and health go hand in hand, and this section of our health library is devoted to exploring the relationship between these two very important aspects of life.

How to Stay Active (& Warm!) in Winter Workout Clothes

Cold days might plummet motivation to be active outdoors - until now! Use these cold-weather workout clothing tips to stay dry, warm, and active this winter season.

How to Stay Active (& Warm!) in Winter Workout Clothes


Compared to the gym, outdoor exercise gifts more fresh air, a pleasant touch of nature, and glorious sunshine. However, the cold weather might plummet motivation to be active outdoors - until now with these warm winter workout clothing tips and ideas!

Winter workout clothes need to be flexible and also protective against the weather. Without a proper workout jacket or cold weather workout clothes, movement can be limited. Additionally, improper weather gear means being exposed to the elements and even being vulnerable to seasonal disease. 

While not affiliated with any brands or products, our team believes these winter workout clothes fit the bill for suiting up in the cold weather! So, without further ado, read on for the best winter walking gear and more winter weather wear. 

Winter Workout Clothes

Clothes for cold weather, and especially exercising, need to do more than fit. They need to be suited for fitness! They must protect against the elements while simultaneously accounting for sweat and other body functions that occur during exercise. 

Some classical workout activities may not also be safe for cold weather. Winter running, walking, or cycling may be more difficult or dangerous than in times of warmer weather. 

While many people take any excuse to miss a winter workout, a good workout outfit can truly make all the difference in being suited for success. 

What to Consider for Winter Clothes For Exercise

There are a couple of things to keep in mind with cold weather. Research shows that winter weather can increase the body's need for energy. The winter season also tends to increase the risk for seasonal depression and vitamin D deficiency. 

Winter weather workouts can be invigorating and offer the chance to develop mental and physical toughness. Cold weather workouts are also considered character building and may make one feel more alive than ever. 

To protect against unpredictable winter conditions, while reaping the benefits of exercise, consider these tips with winter outdoor workouts. 

Pick Proper Clothes

Different sports require different clothes. Especially as a first-timer or beginner, it is important to be outfitted in gear that fits the activity.

For many activities, layers are a great option (more on this below). Layers allow for adjustment as the temperature rises or falls throughout the day. 

Understand a Bit Of Biology

Cold weather can be tricky because two forces are at play. Exercise will warm up the body, raising the heart rate, increasing the body temperature, and causing the body to sweat. With the cold weather on the outside of the body, and sweat on the inner layer, dressing for the weather can feel overwhelming. 

In order to dress for what is best for the body, start by bundling up with sweat and moisture-wicking clothing on the inner layer. This essentially lets the sweat evaporate through the clothing even when it is cold. 

Next, layer insulting clothes on top of the inner layer. Certain areas of the body release heat. Keep the head, ears, and hands covered to protect them from the elements. 

When in Doubt, Add a Layer for Wind or Wetness

It is one thing to be cold, but wet or windy weather can quickly ruin a winter walk in the park. Instead of being soaked, prepare by wearing an outer layer that is wind or weatherproof.

Since finding another layer of protection during a long run is not always possible remember layers can also be peeled off. A neck gaiter can be a warm solution as well. 

Winter Workout Clothing Selections

The best winter workout clothes keep the weather in mind while allowing for flexibility. There is a little something for everyone with the following options.

Workout with Water-Repellent Clothes

For men, the Nike Therma-FIT Winterized Full-Zip Training Hoodie is perfect for braving winter workouts. It is water-repellent on the top and fleece-lined at the bottom for ultra protection and warmth.

A great option for women running in the winter is Lululemon's water-repellent Run for It All Gloves. They are designed for running, and also complete with reflective details. Also included is fleece fabric for warmth.

Remember Reflective Gear

Being seen is even more important in the winter. With shortened daylight hours, it is important to wear reflective gear. Athleta's Flurry Reflective II Headband covers ears and a bit of the head to trap heat while also being made of reflective material to keep one safe. 

Pair with the Flurry Reflective Glove for a perfect, protective pair! 

Protect Appendages From the Extremities

No one likes numb hands, and it is not nice when gloves block one from changing the workout tunes! 

The ribbed Nike Club Fleece Gloves help take workouts to the next level by locking in warmth while allowing for touchscreen-compatible fingertips. If mittens are more suitable, try Adidas' Carette Mittens, which are "equipped for winter adventures of all kinds" (and include reflective details, too). 

Do not let heat escape from the head, either! No one will guess that the stylish Cold Weather Reflective Baseball Cap from Athleta is also water-repellent and sweat-wicking. Options like the Go-Warm Microfleece Snood from Old Navy can help keep the face warm as well. 

Minimal options like Adidas' Linear Headband are both cost-effective and help protect the head from cold-weather elements. 

Keep The Kids Safe, Too

Kids can stay stylish and safe in the winter weather as they participate in family workouts. Nike's Big Kids' Beanie and Gloves Set is not only super soft, but it is also made of conductive yarns that leave fingertips free for interactive devices.

The Adidas Twilight Ballie beanie is another excellent option for youth. Pair with the versatile Adventure Track Pants for the next outdoor adventure. Remember protective layers like ColdGear Leggings for kids, too.

Get a "Leg" Up on the Cold

Nike Therma-FIT One Mid-Rise Leggings for women are not just for running errands. These leggings are versatile, stylish, cozy, and comfy. They are thick enough to not be see-through, but thin enough to count as an inner sweat-wicking layer. 

Look for leggings with pockets for further functionality, such as the High-Waisted Cold Weather Pocket Legging from Fabletics. Options like Athleta's Altitude Tight have a special sweat-wicking fabric that can be thrown directly in the washing machine without experiencing wear and tear. 

For men, 2-in-1 options like Old Navy's Go 2-in-1 Workout Shorts + Base Layer make layering up easy. They contain an interior fitted base layer underneath a pair of running shorts.

Go Long for Winter Living

Long sleeves are a great barrier against brisk winds in the winter. The Rulu Run Long Sleeve Shirt from Lululemon is perfect for protecting arms and forearms from winter weather. It’s specially designed for running and walking, with underarm gussets and specialized darts in the fabric for comfort. 

Resist wind and repel rain with a light yet protective layer from Adidas in the Terrex Agravi Pro Windbreaker

Protect and Deflect with an Insulating Layer

To go on top of a sweat-wicking shirt, insulating layers keep the warmth where it is needed. The Lululemon Down for It All Jacket is a perfect example of what insulating layers can do. With specialized zones for insulation and stretchy fleece fabric, it’s great for a winter walk. 

Athleta’s Flurry Force Insulated PrimaLoft® Jacket II is also an excellent option, as it is fitted close to the body without feeling restrictive. For men, the Adidas Essentials Insulated Hooded Jacket is just as its name suggests, an essential. 

For an insulating layer that also resists the wind, try the Terrex Agravic Windweave Pro Octa Insulation Windbreaker from Adidas. It’s perfect for packing in a bag and pulling out later for protection and warmth. The insulation is strategically placed for where the body needs it most. 

Winter Workout Wear Recap

Do not worry about picking the "perfect" winter workout outfit... 

Instead, pick a sweat-wicking inner layer and an insulating outer layer to keep protected from the cold. Keep appendages in mind, too, as heat can escape from the hands and head. 

Bundle up and get active with something stylish and well-suited for the season! 

References:

Ellis E. Family Exercise Ideas for Every Season. Eat Right. Published January 14, 2021. https://www.eatright.org/fitness/exercise/family-activities/family-exercise-ideas-for-every-season

Molvar K. How to Take Your Winter Workout Outdoors. Vogue. Published December 7, 2020. https://www.vogue.com/article/winter-workout-outdoors-tips-gear

Rodriguez D. Choosing the Right Workout Clothes. Everyday Health. Published June 5, 2018. https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/choosing-workout-clothes.aspx.

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on December 20, 2021. Updated on January 19, 2022.

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