Be Comfortable Walking in Cold and Wet Weather

Don't let cold temperatures or rain deter you from your walking routine this fall and winter. Take the following weather-related precautions, and a change in the weather won't tempt you to skip your workout.

If you're new to exercise, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning a new program.

Cold weather

  • Dress in layers that can be removed easily as you warm up. Clothing should be made from fabrics that wick moisture away from the body. Even when it is wet, wool stays warm, but cotton, if it gets wet, will stay wet and can lead to hypothermia. Start with long underwear or tights and a turtleneck. Add a sweater, windproof jacket, windproof and weatherproof pants, a warm hat and gloves. If it is really cold, wear a scarf or knit mask to cover your face and mouth.

  • Wear waterproof shoes and wool socks if it's cold and wet.

  • Wear sunscreen. Sun reflecting on snow and ice can cause a sunburn.

  • Wear UV protective glasses or sunglasses

  • Wear shoes with nonskid soles or rubber cleats and shorten your stride when walking on icy pavement.

  • Don't walk after drinking alcohol. Beer, wine, and spirits dilate your blood vessels, making you lose heat more quickly.

  • Don't smoke before or during your walk. Nicotine constricts your blood vessels, reducing the supply of blood and oxygen to your hands and feet.

  • Stay hydrated, it's important to drink fluids while exercising in winter, too.

Wet weather

  • Wear rain-resistant clothing made of materials such as Gore-Tex. Wearing a long rain poncho with a hood is an alternative.

  • Wear waterproof or leather shoes to keep your feet drier. Wool-blend socks will keep your feet warm even when they're wet.

  • Pay attention to severe storms. Return home or seek shelter if lightning or dangerous winds approach.