Layer Up and Get Outside!

Featured Article, Fitness
on January 1, 2011
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Forget hibernating. These tips for smart layering will keep you warm during your outdoor winter workouts.

Choose synthetics
Ban cotton from your workout wardrobe. Opt instead for shirts, jackets, shorts or tights, hats, socks and underwear made of moisture-wicking polyester blends (look for Coolmax, dri-fit or dri-release on the label).

We like: Champion Double Dry Ultimate Zip Pullover. This lightweight polyester/spandex pullover keeps you warm without soaking up sweat. Plus, it comes with an iPod pocket on the sleeve and small reflective strips on the shoulders. $40.

Stay safe
Look for workout tops, vests and jackets that have reflective strips on the front and back. Plan to wear reflective gear as your top two layers.

We like: Brooks Essential Run Vest. Wind and water resistant, this lightweight, versatile vest has side-zip pockets, a back vent for breathability and 360-degree reflectivity so you can be seen from all angles. $55.

Warm your middle
Keep your mid-section toasty by layering a tank top, long sleeve shirt and vest, depending on the temperature.

We like: Patagonia Women’s Capilene 2 Lightweight Crew. Sweat-wicking and fast-drying, this lightweight baselayer will keep you warm and dry during chilly walks and runs. $45.

Stay dry
For bad weather days, throw on a light wind- and water-resistant jacket over a short- or long-sleeved base layer. Look for a shell with vents in the back and under the arms to pipe out body heat that could trap sweat.

We like:Nike Clima-FIT Shifter Women’s Convertible Jacket. Vents on the back of this jacket — plus its special Clima-FIT fabric — protect you from light wind and rain, without allowing you to get overheated. Plus, the sleeves zip off and tuck into a small pocket to quickly convert to a vest. $100.

Cover your head and hands
Nearly a quarter of your body heat escapes from the top of your head, so hats are great temperature regulators (off when you’re hot, on when you’re cold). For your hands, mittens work better than gloves because they allow your fingers to warm each other.

We like: Brooks Adapt Glove. These lightweight gloves have a water-resistant windshield that flips over the gloved fingers when you need it, and stores in its own pocket when you don’t. $30.

Don’t forget your feet
One exception to the synthetics rule? Wool. Wool has found its way into fit folks’ wardrobes in the form of thinner, tighter weaves that insulate without bulk. Plus, it’s odor-resistant (for which your loved ones will be thankful).

We like: Icebreaker Run Lite Mini and Hike Lite Mini. Icebreaker’s Hike Lite Minis are perfect for brisk winter walking; the Run Lites are slightly lower-profile for running. Both feature built-in support for your Achilles tendon and mid-step, as well as reinforced heels and strategic seaming to prevent blisters. Run Lite: $16; Hike Lite: $16.50; see for retailers.