How to Heat Up Your Cold-Weather Walks

Medically reviewed in November 2021

Walking in a winter wonderland these days? Make your lungs happy with this small equipment addition: a scarf.

Tina Vindum, author of Outdoor Fitness, recommends covering your mouth and nose with a scarf before heading out for cold-weather exercise. This simple piece of gear helps warm and moisturize air before it hits your tender lungs.

Cold-weather cardio
Besides being a shock to the system, cold, arid air can dry out and irritate bronchial passages. But if you wear a scarf or facemask over your mouth and nose, heat and water will be trapped in the material every time you breathe out. A good thing, because then that moisture and heat are available to warm and humidify your next breath on the way in. And that's much easier on your respiratory bits. (Find out which type of fruit can help improve lung function.)

Winter workout wear
Healthy cold-weather exercise requires some attention to wardrobe, too. The key, Vindum says, is layering. On your bottom-most layer, use lightweight, breathable fabrics that wick sweat and keep you dry. Your next layer should provide insulation—leggings and a fleece top usually do the trick. On top, your coat or jacket should offer protection against wind, rain and snow. To keep feet dry, choose socks made of a moisture-wicking material like wool or polypropylene. (Can't get past the cold? Try creating your own workout that you can do at home.)

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