The winter months can bring numbing temperatures, grey skies, and icy roads – not exactly the kind of weather that inspires outdoor workouts. However, with the proper winter workout gear, you can comfortably and safely take on the elements.
Our experts at UPMC Sports Medicine compiled a list of the top 10 winter essentials needed to continue running outdoors.
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Gear You Need for Winter Running
- Base layer: Pull on a form-fitting T-shirt or long-sleeved base-layer shirt made from wool or polyester. These fabrics are warm, and more importantly, they’re moisture-wicking to keep you dry.
- Mid layer: This moisture-wicking layer provides additional insulation by trapping heat. It’s often a jacket or fleece.
- Outer/protective layer: A wind-resistant and waterproof coat, often made of nylon, can protect you from the harshest weather conditions and prevent your clothing from becoming soggy and damp.
- Thermal tights: Moisture-wicking thermals are the difference between warm legs and frozen limbs.
- Safety lights or reflective gear: With less daylight during the winter months, it’s important to make sure you’re easily seen by drivers. Their visibility is often compromised because of rain, snow, and low light due to shorter winter days.
- Hat or balaclava: Prevent heat from escaping by covering your head and ears in an insulating, wind-blocking hat. On colder days, choose to wear a balaclava to cover up from head to neck. The less skin exposed, the better.
- Wool gloves and socks: Prevent frozen toes and fingers by choosing socks and gloves that provide insulation and warmth. Thick or wool running socks provide extra warmth. Mittens are better than gloves to keep your hands and fingers warmer.
- Trail shoes or traction aids: Winter running calls for a shoe that has extra traction needed for slippery surfaces and uneven terrain. Pick a shoe designed for any surface, even if you’re only hitting the roads.
- Heat patches: For long runs, hand and foot warmers can slide inside your mittens/gloves and shoes to provide a little extra heat.
- Lip balm and moisturizer: Cold weather easily dries out lips and skin. Use lip balm and moisturizer to prevent or repair chapped lips and cracked skin.
For more tips on how to prevent injury, improve performance, and stay active throughout the year, visit UPMC Sports Medicine. To make an appointment with one of our experts, please call 1-855-937-7678.
Editor's Note: This video was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .
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An athletic lifestyle carries the potential for injury. Whether you’re an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, UPMC Sports Medicine can help. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury, our multidisciplinary team of experts can help you get back into the game. If you are seeking to improve your athletic performance, we can work with you to meet your goals. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our goal is to help you keep doing what you love. Visit our website to find a specialist near you.