Shopping for the post-holiday deals? Think of these nine points before buying winter workout gear.
At this time of year, many of us are browsing online or in stores to find those post-holiday deals. If you intend to buy exercise gear, there are some things that you may want to consider before you pull out your Visa. Here are some ideas to help you narrow down your purchases.
I get asked a lot about what kind of shoes are best, what clothes are needed to get started in an exercise program, and what gear is necessary. The underlying question is really, “What do I need to purchase to get fit?” Like most answers that are health-related, I would say, “It depends.” It’s important to think not only about cost but also about which items are really worth the outlay.
If you are new to exercise, you may want to begin by reading my blog post about increasing your safety when starting a program. Otherwise, here is a list of some general things to think about when buying winter-specific exercise gear:
- Cotton is meant for towels only. There’s a reason that we use a cotton towel after a shower – cotton is super absorbent - think about how it would feel to work out wrapped in a wet towel. Gross, right? When purchasing work-out gear (especially for shirts and sports bras), go for a synthetic wicking fabric (or thin wool for colder weather). If it’s cold outside, staying dry close to the skin becomes a priority. The shirt I’m wearing in the picture above also has a smart silver reflective lining that traps body heat for warmth.
- Invest in good socks. If you’re cycling, walking, running, playing sports etc. you will want a good pair of socks that are light on the seams. Blisters can make working out a bummer. When picking a brand for the winter, consider some of the new thin but warm options like Merino wool. Keep wicking front of mind (see point number 1.)
- Spend the bulk of your money on proper footwear. I love a good online purchase like the next Age Sister, but athletic shoes should definitely be bought in person. Pro-tip: if your foot is anywhere near the end of the shoe, with enough mileage, you could be in line for a black toenail; try to find something steep to walk down to test the length of the shoes. Also, go shoe shopping at the end of the day when your feet are the largest.
- Go to a store that knows athletic shoes. I don’t want to point fingers, but many of the large chain sports stores (think mall stores) aren’t typically as knowledgeable as some of the smaller locally-owned specialty shops. If you are a walker, try a specialty running or orthotic store. Many cities also have dedicated running, cycling or outdoor stores with staff that will take the time to help you pick out good shoes.
- Proper rain gear is worth every penny. I live in a rainforest, so good rain gear is essential. Newer fabrics are brilliant at being both breathable and water-resistant. Although there are some very affordable options, prepare for sticker shock if you are going for really lightweight materials.
- Buy layers. My rule is, “go out cold.” If you are exercising outside, you should be slightly chilly when you leave. The best way to manage the change in your internal temperature as you warm-up is to have a layer that you can easily roll up or tie around your waist.
- Gloves are your friend. I work out in all sorts of weather. Between October and March, I am rarely without gloves. Thin gloves allow just that bit of extra warmth that keeps you from bundling up too much or being overdressed. They’re also the smallest item to carry if you must shed a layer.
- Think visibility. Yes, those black tights are more flattering than others. But are you visible in the dark? Look out for brands and clothing items that add in reflective silver decorations to keep you safe.
- Buy yourself some snow-treads. I woke up one snowy morning a few years ago, ready to settle into a book and a nice cup of coffee. Imagine my surprise when my running partner showed up a few minutes later with an extra pair of Yak Trax. Sadly, my latte had to wait. Seriously, if you live somewhere that gets snow in the winter, you can maintain your fitness routine by purchasing some good traction devices.
Do you live in a climate that gets in the way of you maintaining your fitness? Have you found any good workarounds that you could share? Head over to the main Facebook page and leave us a comment.
Stay warm out there!
Your sister in health,
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