What should I wear to go running in the winter?

When exercising outdoors and in extreme elements protecting the skin is imperative. Physical activity participation in extreme cold climates makes you susceptible to frost bite or hypothermia. Be sure to dress in layers to protect the skin against frostbite or damage from the cold. It’s important to remember your body will take longer to acclimate to the cold weather so take 5-10 minutes of low level activity like walking before you move into more vigorous activity is advised.
Brooke Randolph
Marriage & Family Therapy
The best place to start with any winter running list is the shoes. I wear regular running shoes. You will just want to ensure that they have sufficient support and traction as you will likely be running on slick or uneven ground. If you run with your dog, you may want to leave him or her at home unless they are well-trained or unable to pull you, or you may end up being pulled off your path due to the slick snow or ice. I have run a 5k with a Great Dane, but he outweighs me and is too excitable for more than winter walks.

The biggest lesson I have learned is that two pairs of socks are necessary, even if one of them is a great fleece pair. I generally match a thinner pair of socks with a thicker pair.

Occasionally, sweat pants are enough; however I prefer a fleece-lined windbreaker pair of pants. If it is extra cold, a pair of thermals, Cuddl Duds, or leggings can be layered underneath.

A t-shirt or long-sleeve shirt under a sweatshirt is generally enough. The pocket in a hooded sweatshirt provides a place to store house keys, iPod, and fleece gloves or mittens if they need to be removed.

A fleece scarf wrapped around your mouth and nose will help warm the air before it hits your lungs. It is an essential piece of your winter running attire. Wrap-around earmuffs provide a great way to keep your earbuds in place, but ears can be covered with your scarf or hat too. I have also found that a hat is not necessary if your ears are covered, but it can't hurt if you have a pocket in which to store it if you become too warm.

It is important that you can see any obstacles in your path, so if you wear contacts or glasses don't forget them while running. Snow can reflect a lot of light, so you may find sunglasses helpful.

Bundle up and I think you will find even a few short cold-weather runs will keep winter claustrophobia at bay.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.