As we approach spring, Kansas weather is too often warm, then cold, then warm again. Stepping outside into unpredictable weather can often be detrimental to your motivation if you are planning to exercise outdoors. However, with the proper preparation and clothing, your weather woes can be put to rest.
The first and most important rule when dressing for unpredictable weather is not so difficult to figure out: use layers. It’s important to dress comfortably for the weather, but you might find that as the workout progresses, you get hot and sweaty and might want to shed a layer or two. Jackets with zippers and pockets can be a great way to adjust to the temperature. If in doubt, bring gloves and a hat. It’s always better to take them off than to struggle through a run or walk with a freezing head and chapped hands.
When choosing socks, a shirt or pants, it’s best to opt for a moisture-wicking fabric that will keep you cool in the heat and warm and dry when it’s cold. Cotton is inexpensive, readily available and absorbent, but it might not allow sweat to evaporate as quickly in hot temperatures, making it easy to overheat. The material can also keep sweat trapped near your body. In freezing or near-freezing temperatures, the cold moisture can lower body temperature and be potentially dangerous.
Women, wear a sports bra. This might seem like common sense, but many females do not. Not only does the bra provide comfort and support, it can prevent workout “oopsies” that the rest of us don’t want to see.
Proper shoes are a must when exercising — indoors and out. Make sure the shoe is appropriate for the activity you are doing: walking shoes are not suitable for running, and running shoes can increase the risk of a twisted ankle if you’re playing basketball. The shoes should also fit properly. A shoe that is too tight, too loose or doesn’t offer enough support can lead to blisters and even serious injury to the foot or leg.
Finally, protect yourself from the sun. Even if it’s not hot, you can still get burned. Make sure to wear sunscreen, wear light-colored clothing, and use a hat or sunglasses when it’s especially sunny to protect your eyes.
By following these simple rules, you can be prepared for outdoor exercise in almost any kind of weather. For future reference, check out www.runnersworld.com/cda/whattowear.
Sarah Hurd is a senior in kinesiology and pre-physical therapy. Please send comments to email@example.com.