Well it's that time of year, and if you are planning on exercising outside you need to be prepared for the cold and wet. One nice thing about carrying a few extra winter pounds (holiday weight...) is that fat is a great insulator! Here are some simple tips to help make outdoor winter activities fun and safe:
- Roughly 50% of body heat is lost from the head, so wear a toque. I always start with one and it's a really easy thing to remove if you find yourself getting too warm.
- Dress in layers. It's key to have dry air next to the skin.
- Don't wear clothing that absorbs water - cotton
- Try and avoid getting too sweaty. When you start to get warm remove your toque, take off a layer. Put them back on if you feel like you are getting cold.
- I use a moisture wicking baselayer, then a breathable shirt, and usually a wind/water resistant top layer (depending on the weather). I also carry a spare baselayer and shirt.
- Check the weather forcast
- To keep your feet warm the rest of your body needs to be warm. Your body won't send warm blood down to the feet if your core parts are cold.
The real keys to staying warm are keeping dry air next to the skin. When embarking on winter adventures always take more clothing with you then you need as you never know what might happen. In our climate having a water resistant outer layer is pretty important even if you simply carry it with you. When cycling I find that wind proof chest and thigh protection helps a lot as a tremendous amount of cooling takes place when you are moving at higher speeds. Exercising in the cold is always more risky so make sure somebody knows where you are going and when you're expected to return. Always error on the side of caution. Have fun out there!