During a certain time of year, using rain as an excuse not to exercise may mean rarely (if ever) getting a workout in.
Rain doesn’t have to prevent you from working out, and it doesn’t have to mean working out indoors all the time, either. With these tips for exercising in the rain, you can get some fresh air and exercise at the same time — rain or shine.
Check the Forecast
Weather conditions can change quickly. A good weather app for your phone is one of the most important tools for outdoor workouts. You can still exercise in mild conditions, but if a really bad cold front or lightening is coming, head to the gym or community center. Be safe!
Your smartphone should be there for you in case of an emergency first and for your playlist second. Protect it with a waterproof sleeve or even a baggie. You shouldn’t head out the door with a low battery, so plan ahead.
Before you leave the house, make sure someone knows which route you are taking and when you expect to be home. A simple text will do.
Your body has to work extra hard to regulate your temperature in the cold. If you plan to head out on a long run or walk, make sure you are fueled adequately — don’t start your workout on a completely empty stomach.
Preworkout warmups are especially critical when the weather is cold. Warming up can help you increase your coordination and power and reduce your risk of injury.
To help motivate yourself to brave the rain, warm up inside. That way, the cold won’t hit you as hard when you head outside.
[Related: Motivation for Exercising in Bad Weather]
Rain makes it harder for motorists to see you, so ensuring your visibility is crucial.
Whether you are cycling, running, or power walking, try to have as many reflective strips on your body as possible. To really go all out, you can even purchase a reflective construction vest to toss over your workout gear.
However, reflective clothing is not enough. Cyclists should have lights on the front and back of their bikes and even on their helmets. Runners and walkers can find headlamps at most sporting goods stores and even the hardware store.
Lastly, remember that while you may clearly see a motorist, it’s much more difficult for them to see you — especially in the rain. Make eye contact at crosswalks and corners to be sure the driver really does know you are about to cross.
Assess Your Shoes
Shoes with good grip are essential to exercising in the rain.
If your running shoes are getting smooth or at all worn out on the bottom, one step in the wrong direction on a wet surface can result in a bad fall. You could end up pulling a muscle, spraining something, or worse.
Take extra precaution when taking corners or running on changing surfaces, as the new surface may be more slippery than the last.
[Related: Guide to Fitness Shoes for Baby Boomers]
Layers are your best friend when it comes to working out in the rain.
Starting from the outside in, have a nylon waterproof and windproof outer layer. If you are soaked to the skin in cold weather, you will lose body heat and get cold more quickly, putting yourself at risk for hypothermia. To allow for regulating your temperature, look for shells with armpit zips and other ventilation options so you can adjust if you need to “breathe.”
Ensure that the innermost layer that touches your body is a wicking fabric that draws moisture and sweat away from your skin. In really cold weather, a middle, thermal layer may be necessary. You can always remove this layer if you get too warm.
[Related: Guide to Layering and Outdoor Gear]
Consider Your Materials
When choosing your layers, look for pieces that have these elements:
- Merino wool: It’s one of the best body temperature-regulating materials for both cool and warm weather. Wool is also moisture-wicking and has fast-drying properties that are naturally antimicrobial and help fight bad odors.
- Chafe-free seams: Look for flat or welded seams placed away from areas that could impede your stride or natural running motion.
- Nylon: Quick-drying, moisture-wicking nylon is frequently used alone or blended with other fabrics and offers excellent durability in running shorts, pants, and lightweight jackets.
- Mesh vents: Many tops are augmented with cooling mesh panels for high-heat areas such as your back, underarms, and sides.
Top It Off
Wear a hat with a brim to prevent heat loss through the top of your head and to keep the rain out of your eyes for visibility. This way, you’ll be able to see even in the case of a downpour.
Dry Your Shoes Properly
Our best practices don’t end with your workout.
Once you’re done exercising and back home, don’t just kick off your shoes and leave them to dry on their own. Instead, fill them with crumpled up newspapers to help them hold their shape as they dry. You can also use Stuffitts, antimicrobial drying inserts that combat moisture and kill odor in shoes.
Never put running or other shoes in the drier or in front of a heating vent, as it can cause them to shrink and dry out of shape.
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