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Winter Fitness: How to Dress for Cold Outdoor Workouts

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In a recent blog post, we explored a few winter self-care ideas, and topping our list was exercise. Naturally, we recommend a jump rope cardio workout

But as we head into the winter, it’s not only more tempting to melt into the couch but it can sometimes be harder to find reasons to get off of it. There’s no shame in that game, but with renewed chatter about our favorite places to work out (and stay warm) closing back down again, it’s more important than ever to avoid couch potato status when the cold weather hits. So, here are 10 simple ways to keep you motivated this winter.

On the other hand, many people don’t have enough space to work out in their homes or have the ceiling height to do a jump rope circuit

This topic was brought up in our jump rope fitness community.

We thought we’d jump into this topic a little deeper and go over how to dress for cold outdoor workouts. 

How to Layer Up For Cold Outdoor Workouts

The definition of cold varies from person to person, but if you layer up properly, you can still enjoy the benefits of jumping even on the chilliest days. 

Before we get started, it’s important to note how to properly take care of your Crossrope jump rope handles. Always keep your Crossrope handles dry to protect them from wear and tear. Be careful where you put your jump ropes and handles when working out in wet or snowy conditions. 

Let’s jump in! We’ll explain how to dress for cold outdoor workouts, sharing some bonus tips along the way. 

Jumping Outside in 50 to 60° F

50 to 60° F is still fairly warm weather, so layering up isn’t critical, but still very helpful. John Fawkes, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, and Managing Editor at The Unwinder recommends wearing a long sleeve top as you do your warm-up, then tossing it aside once the blood starts pumping. 

Wear some form of poly-based clothing for a short sleeve t-shirt underneath your long sleeve top. Polyester fiber like Poly-Dri is moisture-wicking, which you’ll want for this warmer temperature range. Athletic shorts or leggings also work well for this temperature range. It all depends on your preference.

Bonus Tip: You might want a pair of light gloves and ear band handy in case your hands and ears start to get cold. 

Jumping Outside in 30 to 40° F

This temperature range is where layering becomes important. These are also the temperatures where you definitely need gloves and something to cover your ears. 

For your base layer, choose a synthetic fabric long sleeve top. It’s best to choose a slim fit base layer so you can add a jacket or a vest without feeling too bulky. 

As for gloves, look for runner’s wool gloves. Wool has the bonus of being one of the few natural materials that also wicks moisture yet offers insulation.

Bonus Tip: Don’t forget your sunscreen! Even on overcast days, the sun is strong, if not more so, on winter days — especially in you’re exercising around reflective snow.

Jumping Outside in 20 to 30° F

Temperatures in the mid-twenties with a sensible dew point is about the lowest most folks can and should exercise outside. And only if you have the right gear for it:

  • A long-sleeve base layer made from moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics (nylon, polyester, poly-dri, etc.)  
  • Form-fitting jacket, ideally made with some kind of thermal layered materials.
  • Lined or insulated tights, one or two pairs depending on the weather. 
  • Moisture-wicking socks that rest above the ankle for extra protection.
  • A neck gaiter to shield and protect your neck from harsh winds.
  • Runner's wool gloves or mittens. 
  • Hats that fit tightly over the crown of your head and down to cover your ears. 

Hannah Daugherty, CPT-NASM, ACE, who serves on the advisory board for Fitter Living mentions that hypothermia can set in if your clothes are wet from sweat, rain, sleet, or snow. There’s also the potential to develop nasty frostbite if your skin is exposed to bitter conditions for too long.

Bonus Tip: Avoid cotton as your base layer when you’re exercising outdoors in these temperatures. Cotton will get damp and doesn’t dry easily. 

How Cold is Too Cold to Jump Outside? 

Below 20° F is probably too cold to head outdoors for jump rope cardio

Frankly, we don't recommend that most people jump rope outside at these bleak temperatures. When you exercise outdoors, your body actually registers the weather around 5 to 10 degrees cooler than it is, making this temperature pretty intense for the majority of your workout. When it gets this cold, you may have to try an invisible rope workout indoors. 

 The handful of exceptions are those who are athletes or seasoned vets with their outdoor sport conditioned to the cold. It's incredibly difficult for beginners to get in the proper conditioning, breathing, and heart rate zone necessary to comfortably and safely sustain workouts in such conditions. Especially the closer that temperature creeps to single digits.

Stay in Your Comfort Zone

Sometimes, it’s simply too cold to work out in the great outdoors. To avoid frostbite, avoid working out when the wind chill is in the negative temperatures. 

Also, if you suffer from asthma, have poor blood circulation or heart problems, you may be at higher risk for complications from cold-weather exercise. Always check with your doctor before heading out. 

Bonus Tip: Use a jump rope mat, even outdoors. When you’re jumping rope outdoors in the winter, the surface you’re jumping on could be slick or icy. Using a stable and clean surface like a mat will definitely help protect you from jump rope injuries

We recommend the Crossrope LE mat for turning any surface into a jumping surface.

Over to You

Do you plan on jumping rope outdoors this winter? We want to hear how it goes! Drop us a comment below or join our Crossrope community and share your winter workout tips with 90,000 other jumpers. 

Remember, mother nature doesn’t need to get in the way of your fitness goals! Happy jumping!

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