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Q: It’s below freezing outside! How should I dress if I want to go running?
A: The first thing to be aware of with running in cold weather is to layer. Layering is the key to any cold weather activity. The base layer should always be a moisture wicking material to keep the sweat off of your body. The next layer could either be a long sleeve or short sleeve layer depending on preference. Personally, I have found that I usually wear a long sleeve shirt with a vest as the next layer. Your last layer should depend on the weather conditions depending on if it is windy, raining, snowing, etc. If it is windy you will want a light layer that blocks the wind. If it is rainy or snowing, you will want a layer that is water resistant in order to keep your layers dry.
For your lower body, there are many options of attire from full leggings, capri length, lined vs. non-lined. The lower body in my opinion is a personal preference. The next thing to address is your hands, head, and eyes. My personal preference is a light glove to keep my hands warm and to block the wind. As for my head, I tend to go with a headband that keeps my ears warm because with all of the layers I need a way to disperse the heat, but a full knit cap would be appropriate as well.
Eye protection is important factor that usually gets overlooked. If it is sunny obviously sunglasses are helpful to keep the wind out of your eyes. If it is early morning and not bright enough for sunglasses, purchase yellow lens glasses that will also improve your vision. Finally, safety is a high concern. It is very important at any time of the year to have your final layer have some sort of reflection strips, lights or a lighted strap in order to alert others to your presence.
Debra Myhr PT, DPT, MOTR, ATC is a physical therapist with OrthoCarolina Monroe