• Thanks Amber! I didn’t know to avoid cotton as a first layer. Glad I read this!

    From Becky
    January 5, 2010

  • Thanks Amber! This is most helpful…esp. in the COLD weather up north!

    From Allison
    January 6, 2010

Layer Up to Stay Fit: Cold Weather Tips



As the New Year approaches, many of us are finding new ways to adhere and or spice up our exercise program.  Sticking to our exercise regiments throughout the colder month’s takes a great deal of commitment and motivation.

 It’s colder, darker, and hitting the snooze button seems trouble-free. The simplicity of throwing on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, lacing up the running shoes and catching some vitamin D as we hit the pavement is merely a distant dream. Literally as we are trying to peel of layers (lbs) through physical activity, we need to be sure during the cold weather months that we are layering more on.


Insulation in terms of proper clothing is vital for our cold weather activity.  Not only will it make us feel more comfortable, but it will also keep us safe.  According to our adventure outing friends over at Outside Hilton Head, here are some useful tips on how to layer clothing for cold weather activity.


The most important body part we must cover is our core. When layering the core area there are essentially three layers: a base layer, a mid layer and an outer layer.


1.  The base layeris what will be in contact with your skin.  This layer should be of tight fitting and wicking material that will help to keep you warm and dry.  Cotton is to be avoided for a base layer.  Cotton traps moisture, draws heat from you, and stays damp for longer periods of time.  Some great base layer choices are polypropylene, silk, polyester, Thermax, Thinsulate, and wool.  Base layers also come in various weights: lightweight, mid-weight, and heavyweight. The lighter weights provide more wicking action, and the heavier weights provide more insulation.  Be sure to select your layer weight based upon the temperature outside and the intensity of your activity.


2.  Next is the mid layer. This layer acts to provide even more insulation then the base layer.  The mid layer should be a bit looser then the base layer, thus allowing for insulation of air between the layers.  Great mid layer choices are wool, fleece, down, and synthetic fiberfill (polyester and thinsulate).


3.  Finally the outer layer.  This layer should act to block wind and other elements while allowing the remaining moisture to escape.  The ideal outer shell layer is made of Gore-Tex or a similar material.  Also look for outer layers that include ventilation options such as pit zips, long front zippers, adjustable cuffs and collars.


Now that we have covered the core, we must not forget about our extremities. Be sure to cover your head, hands and feet. Wear a hat, gloves, and socks.  Ideally your hat and gloves should block wind.  Fleece may seem warm and fashionable, but it does not provide the proper protection from  the wind.


With all of the useful tips above, be sure not to let the cold put a chill in your exercise regiment: meet the challenge and layer up to stay fit!

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