By Nancy Henderson
Many Town residents are familiar with the saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” With proper attire, citizens of Steilacoom can enjoy outdoor exercise throughout the cold weather season. Here are some tips for dressing for cold weather exercise.
Dress in Layers
The key to staying warm is to wear clothing that is layered, lightweight and waterproof or water-resistant. Layers are easy to add or remove and thus, better regulate core temperature. The innermost or base layer should wick moisture and perspiration away from the skin to maintain warmth. Polypropylene, silk, and wool are good choices. Avoid cotton which traps moisture, stays wet, and draws away heat. In very cold weather add a looser, second layer of breathable material like fleece or similar fabrics. The outer layer should be breathable, wind-resistant, and water-resistant, such as a lightweight windbreaker, vest, or jacket. Desirable extra features are pit zips, long front zippers, and adjustable cuffs and collars.
Cover your Head
Your head and ears should be covered while exercising in the cold, because heat loss from the head and neck may be as much as 50 percent of the total loss of body heat. A lightweight scarf additionally helps retain body heat.
Keep Hands and Feet Warm and Dry
Wear gloves and/or mittens, and if it’s below 20 degrees, wear both gloves and mittens. If you don’t have mittens, try wearing a pair of socks over your hands. Select gloves and socks which are made of polypropylene, wool or other fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin and retain insulating properties and keep the body warm when wet.
Adjust Layers to Stay Dry
To avoid wet, damp clothing from perspiration, remove layers as you warm up. Once you have a layering plan, you can adjust your temperature control simply by removing or adding layers as needed. Runners or speed walkers may need to dress as if the temperature were 20 degrees warmer.
Wear bright, reflective clothing. Reflective vests, wrist and ankle bands are very inexpensive and greatly improve visibility. Reflective tape can be added to shoes and hats. A headlamp improves visibility both for the wearer and motorists.