The temps have dipped below freezing, and suddenly staying indoors seems way more inviting than going for a run or suiting up the family for a day of sledding. But don’t duck out on your plans just because the thermometer dropped. Follow these guidelines so you can brave the chill without turning into a Popsicle.
Layer up for outdoor exercise. Three layers on your upper body is the magic number. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, which draws sweat away from your skin and helps regulate your body temperature. (There are many synthetic fabrics that offer this, including some wool-containing sports fabrics—look for wicking claims on hangtags when you shop.) Add a warm mid-layer (wool or synthetic fleece) for insulation, and then, especially if it’s raining or snowing, a windproof top layer (a waterproof shell), which will keep you dry and allow excess heat to escape.
Don’t forget your head, hands, and feet. In cold temps, your blood flow is concentrated to your body’s core, leaving your hands and feet vulnerable to chills. Invest in gloves and socks made from a wicking fabric, which will keep hands and feet dry and hold in heat. Buy a pair of wind blocking mittens for especially frigid days, and top it all off with a hat that covers your ears.
Be sure snow gear is waterproof. This is especially true for kids, who’ll spend most of their day in direct contact with the cold, wet stuff. A fill like down will get soaked when wet and when that happens, you get cold. Helpful: Buy coats and snow pants with waterproof shells and do the same with gloves or mittens.
Launder appropriately. Winter weather gear—especially waterproof fabric—doesn’t need to be washed after every wear, unless it gets really dirty (or your little one didn’t make it to the potty in time). When you do launder them, use a specialized detergent that will remove dirt and sweat. Dry according to the fabric label.
Don’t forget year-round rules. You may not feel as thirsty during the winter months as you do in warmer temperatures, but whether you’re jogging 10 miles solo or taking the kids sledding, make sure to imbibe regularly to avoid dehydration. Stick to room temperature H2O and carry an insulated water bottle. And don’t pass up on sunscreen—snow reflects the sun’s rays, making you susceptible to burns even if you feel cold.