Fitness: Outdoor exercise is the new normal — even for winter | Montreal Gazette

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The outer layer protects against the elements while incorporating strategically placed vents to let moisture escape. The amount of insulation in the outer layer depends on the intensity of the activity and the temperature outside. Whether you go for a light, thin shell or opt for more insulation, like down, the perfect outer layer is waterproof, windproof and breathable.

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Shorter days means morning and evening exercisers are working out in the dark, which makes it tough to see and be seen. Wear outer layers with reflective detailing to warn motorists of your presence. Don’t be shy about adding extra reflective gear, like arm or wrist bands and a running vest.

It’s also important to see where you’re going and what’s underfoot, so headlamps come in handy for anyone getting in their workout at either end of the day.

It takes longer for your muscles to warm up in sub-zero temperatures, so start out a little slower than you would when the mercury is on the plus side. And don’t worry if you feel cool to start — the body quickly starts producing heat, so don’t make the mistake of dressing based on how you feel when you step out the door. If you dread those first few minutes in the cold, put your inner layer in the dryer for a welcome boost of heat. And for days when wind chill plays a factor, start out with the wind in your face and return with it at your back.

Icy streets and sidewalks can make walking and running precarious, so choose your footwear wisely. Trail running shoes have more aggressive treads, which can be better in the snow. On icy days, crampons are the answer; there are plenty of models available to slip over your shoes or boots. Keep in mind that feet on the move don’t need as much insulation as feet that are waiting for the bus, so don’t weigh yourself down with unnecessary bulk, which makes it tougher to move at pace.

Unlike the summer months, when exercisers can roll out of bed, pull on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and head out the door, winter demands more planning, decision-making and gear. Don’t make the mistake of using the thermometer alone to gauge how to dress. Wind chill and precipitation also need to be factored into decisions on what to wear.

This content was originally published here.

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