Walk or Run in Any Weather

Staying active week in and week out takes planning, commitment, and the ability to show old man weather who’s boss. Bag on your walk just because the wind is blowing? Not you. Deep-six your jog because it’s drizzling? Uh-uh. Provided you can stay safe and comfortable, there’s no reason to let an unfortunate forecast fog-up your fitness plans. Use these tips to run or walk with confidence — even in the crappiest weather.

 

HEAT

Block the rays. The sun can damage your skin and eyes, and cause you to overheat. Slip on some sunglasses to block UVA and UVB rays. The sunglasses should fit snugly on your head, even when you sweat. Apply a lot of sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30 or higher. In addition to protecting your skin, sunscreen can also make you feel cooler. Pick routes with a shady side of the street or opt for a covered trail in a state park. That direct sun can make you feel 15 degrees hotter.

Go loose and light. Avoid cotton running or walking clothes and opt for sweat-wicking materials. In addition to helping avoid chafing, these materials also allow air to flow through. Also, choose light-colored clothing because it will reflect the sun’s rays, keeping you cooler.

Drink, lots. Then more. Properly hydrate while you’re in the heat to stay cool and feel better. Drink at least 8 ounces of water before heading out in the heat. And if you’re walking or running for 15 minutes or more, carry along another 8-ounce bottle to sip along the way. Fill the bottle with ice and top off with water. Check to see if you’re losing too much water by weighing yourself before and after exercise. If you lose more than a pound, that means you need to drink more water.   

 

COLD

Layer smart. When the thermometer dips close to freezing, layer your clothes to keep your core warm. Along with hat and gloves, plan on pulling on a long-sleeve base layer, insulating tights, and another outer layer, such as a vest or fleece. If you layer correctly, you should feel slightly cool when you start, and if you get too warm, you can peel off a layer as you go.

Warm up inside first. Don’t step in the cold cold. Before a walk or run, get your heart pumping by going up and down stairs, briskly cleaning, or doing some yoga poses. With that warm-up, you won’t feel as cold when you head outside.

Slow down, shorten stride. To avoid slips, shorten your stride – maybe even as much as half. Also, pay more attention to how your feet land. Don’t allow your heel to be the first part to touch the ground. And for greater stability, slow down and keep your hips directly over your foot falls.  

 

RAIN

Protect your feet. Before stepping out in soggy weather, check out your shoes. The tread on your shoes should be 2 millimeters or deeper. These grooves allow water to flow through and provide better traction. Also, slip on a pair of thin socks, which won’t absorb as much water. Chances are your shoes, socks, and feet will get wet in the rain, but thinner socks won’t be as soggy.

Stride right. As you walk or run through puddles or corners, bend your knees a little more than usual to lower your center of gravity. This move also keeps your body more flexible and able to contend with slippery surfaces. Also, shorter, quicker strides will help you stay upright too.

Immediately change afterward. Slip into some warm, dry clothes as soon as you come in from your rainy walk or run. As soon as you stop exercising, your core temperature drops. Bundle up from head to toe and sip a warm drink.

 

WIND

Plan a route that doesn’t blow (much). A walk or run won’t seem so windy if you plan to have the wind at your back on the return route. You can also alternate portions of route so you’re facing the wind then away from the wind for 10 minutes at a time. Look for natural windbreaks such as tree-lines or buildings.

Protect your face. Pulling collars up and billed caps down can keep some wind off your face. But especially for chilly, blustery days, cover your nose and cheeks with some sort of salve. An option you probably already have in your medicine cabinet: Vaseline. And if you do wind up suffering windburn, spread some 1 percent hydrocortisone cream on the affected area.

Be more aerodynamic.A wind of 20 mph can increase your energy output by up to 20 percent. To slice through the wind better, lean slightly into the wind. Don’t wear baggy clothing. When the wind picks up, choose tighter-fitting leggings and tops.