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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Beat the Autumn Blues


photo by cureanything

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The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder. On my Saturday morning run, this was the first time that I had to dig up my cold weather gear. Granted it was only about 42 degrees, here in Albuquerque, but with a little wind, and 15 miles to go, it was long sleeves and running tights for me. Those of you in the Great White North can point and laugh now, if you must. This is the time of year where people who have started to get in the habit of exercise, begin to second guess themselves. Excuses are much easier to justify and it gets much more difficult to get outside when the temperatures are south of freezing, sometimes far south of freezing.

Upper body clothing

Get the right gear for the temperature. Layer where possible so that you can remove layers of clothing as your body warms up. You don't want to find yourself dripping with sweat when its 25 degrees outside. Those old cotton sweats and that beat-up sweatshirt that you've had since college will work, but cotton has been known to cause some misery. Cotton if heavy, bulky, and will absorb and hold moisture close to your body. It's better than nothing, but only slightly better, and we both know that any small excuse to not exercise will stop you from getting out.

Start with a base layer of any material except cotton. Most athletic wear consists of polyester blends that wick moisture away from the skin. A good long sleeved dry tech shirt is a great item to own and you should be able to find one for around $20 at your local sporting goods store, perhaps even less, if you scour the clearance racks.

The next item that you will need is an insulation layer. These garments are usually fleecy and provide an additional layer of insulation to keep you warm on the coldest of days. Depending on the severity of conditions, many thicknesses are available to provide as much comfort as possible when it's very cold outside.

Finally, the last layer is a wind/rain shell. Depending on the conditions, this layer can be worn with either the base layer, the insulation layer, or with both. These items tend to be made with a thin nylon material that has been treated to be water resistant or water proof. These tend to be the more expensive items because of the high tech nature of these items which are designed to repel water but allow water vapor to evaporate. Be honest with yourself before you part with too much of your hard-earned money to buy the latest, greatest shell. If you know you will never exercise outdoors in rain or snow, save a bundle and only buy a cheap, wind shell.
Do you continue exercising through the autumn/winter months or do you hibernate for the winter?

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