Winter Workout Clothes: Beat the Winter Blues

Key Points

  • Cold weather slows parts of the human body, such as the nervous system and muscle contractions.

  • Winter workout clothes are most effective when they trap body heat and remove sweat from the skin.

  • Seasonal depression is typically marked by the onset of depression in late fall.

  • Layer your winter workout clothes so you're able to take some off as you warm up.

Winter is a wonderland of frigid temperatures. Some look forward to the cool mornings while others sprint to their cars to avoid getting a chill. Avid exercisers everywhere are learning about winter workout clothes to improve their abilities to exercise in cold environments.

Knowing what to wear when it's cold makes your workout more effective. Taking care of your workout clothes improves their longevity. Most of all, taking care of your mental health and wearing practical winter workout clothes helps you survive your brawl with Jack Frost.

The Body in Colder Weather

Working out in colder temperatures requires unique clothing because of how the body reacts in chilly environments. Cold weather slows down various aspects of the human body, such as the nervous system and muscle contractions.

You need the nervous system and muscles to operate properly for an effective workout. Dressing according to the weather helps offset the consequences of cold environments.

Head, Hands, and Feet

The scalp has numerous capillaries that spread blood around the head. Exposing these capillaries to frigid weather chills the blood and makes you cold.

Body heat leaves through the skin. The hands and feet are susceptible to heat loss because of the increased surface area of the skin.

The head, hands, and feet are very important sites on the body that keep you warm. Keeping these areas warm conserves body heat and fights off cold temperatures.

Two woman on a walk in winter

What To Wear for a Winter Workout

You don't have to head indoors simply because the weather is frigid. Stay outside and finish your run with winter workout clothes.


Vests are a great way to stay warm in the winter. They keep your torso and central organs warm for your workout. Vests provide an extra layer of warmth without constricting the arms through sleeves.

Vests come in numerous types of fabric. Buying a vest slightly larger than usual is best if you wear multiple layers underneath. Stick with your regular size if you're putting layers on top.

Long Sleeves

If the weather isn't too cold, you may be able to work out in just a long-sleeve shirt. Wearing a long-sleeve shirt holds in body heat, keeping you warmer.

Long sleeves are great paired with a short-sleeve shirt. Long sleeves made from tighter fabrics like nylon and spandex are best under short-sleeve shirts. More oversized long-sleeve shirts are more beneficial for the top layer.

Layer short- and long-sleeve shirts so you're easily able to remove a layer if you start to overheat.


Leggings are beneficial for men and women. They keep the legs warm and protected from cold wind. Exercising in the cold without protection may lead to muscle cramps and injuries.

Pair leggings with tall socks to prevent chilly air from hitting your ankles. Your leggings need to be comfortable and allow for a maximum range of motion. Leggings work well underneath shorts or baggy pants.


Socks may get sweaty during exercise, even outside in 30-degree Fahrenheit weather. Cotton socks might make it worse, so focus on socks made of moisture-wicking materials like spandex, nylon, and polyester blends. Tall, thick socks are warmer than short, thin socks.


Wearing a jacket helps regulate body temperature. They protect you from harsh elements and prevent cold-related illnesses.

Pair a light jacket with a shirt for an added layer of warmth. A light jacket that zips is beneficial for changing temperatures. You can take it off and tie it around your waist if you get warm.

Stretching before a winter run


Coats are heavy and thick, so you must consider which one to snag on sale at your local shopping mall. Unless you bring a backpack, it's going to be hard to carry your coat if you overheat.

Pick a coat that fits your environment. If it's usually freezing, look for a thicker coat. For windy environments, focus on nylon and polycotton materials.


Scarves are great for protecting the throat from cold and wind. They also prevent cold air from going down your collar. Use a scarf made from a breathable material like wool.

Make sure the scarf is not too tight. Tie up the ends or tuck them in your shirt so they're not flapping around in the wind. You don't want to get yanked down by a tree branch.


Frostnip is an early-stage cold injury. It occurs before frostbite and typically on the ears, nose, fingers, and toes. Frostnip happens fairly quickly under the right conditions.

Avoid frostnip by wearing gloves or mittens. Consider gloves with fingertips that allow you to use a touchscreen. This way you're able to call for help if you need it without having to take your gloves off.


A hat keeps your head warm and significantly fights off the cold weather. They also prevent your hair from flying around if it's windy.

The body expels heat through the scalp. Wearing a hat holds in body heat and prevents you from getting as cold. Your hat needs to be snug but not so tight that it's distracting.

If you're worried about hat hair, grab an ear warmer. They're perfect for keeping the ears protected from bitter winds and collecting sweat from your forehead and hairline.


Winter greets you with snow from time to time. As beautiful as snow is, it's dangerous when you're trying to exercise. Snow makes it harder to see when it's sunny and harder to walk when it's piled on the ground.

Wear shoes that are waterproof, snug, warm, and slip-resistant. Slipping into the snow while doing squats is sure to spoil your workout.

There are tons of excellent clothing choices for exercising outside. Despite what you choose to wear, be sure to keep your head, hands, and feet warm.

Tying shoes in the snow


Exercising outside in the winter might mean sweating. Sweating and then getting cold is dangerous because you cool down too quickly. If you're wet from sweat, it's easier to get cold.

Buy moisture-wicking workout wear. Moisture-wicking materials are beneficial for pulling sweat from your body. The material holds onto the moisture, keeping it off the skin and preventing you from getting a chill.

Clothing Brands

There are a vast amount of fitness clothing brands across the world. Brands differ by their make and materials.

Find a brand you like the most. The clothing needs to fit well and withstand your activities. Once you find a brand you enjoy, try to shop there often.

Shopping is a great way to enhance your day. Buying new workout clothes motivates you to exercise and fight off the winter blues.

Beat the Winter Blues

Despite what you choose to wear, staying motivated in the winter is tough. Less sunlight and more time inside contribute to depression. Depression is more common in the winter and may lead to weight gain, irritability, anxiety, and seclusion.

During the winter, people often experience seasonal depression. Seasonal depression is the feeling of sadness and disinterest that grows during colder seasons. Take part in numerous activities to fight seasonal depression.


Exercise promotes blood flow, oxygen transportation, and the release of chemicals in the brain responsible for making you happy and healthy. Working out gives your body extra energy and nutrients to fight off mood changes brought on by the winter months.

Woman in winter workout clothes

Exercise comes in all forms, from sports to walking. Moderate-intensity exercise for 30 minutes a day, three times a week, offsets the adverse effects of the drop in temperature. Moderate-intensity exercise means you're slightly breaking a sweat and increasing your breathing and heart rate.

Moderate-intensity exercise includes:

  • Walking at three miles per hour

  • Lifting weights

  • Jogging

  • Hot Yoga

Eat Right

A healthy diet gives your body the required minerals and nutrients for a healthy mind. When you lack certain minerals in your diet, your brain doesn't function fully. Optimal brain function gives you the strength to fight depression.

A proper diet includes the recommended amount of proteins, carbohydrates, sugars, fats, and sodium based on your age and dietary needs. Meet with a nutritionist or dietician for a more personalized approach.

Get Outside

Sunlight improves your mood by boosting vitamin D levels. Being outside and getting fresh air is an invigorating experience. It gets you out from between the four walls trapping you for months.

Go for a walk, do some morning yoga in the sunlight, or practice soccer at the local park. Find ways to break a sweat outside to get an even bigger boost of helpful endorphins and neurochemicals.

Meet With Others

Meet with friends and family regularly. You don't have to make plans to meet at a restaurant for dinner every night, but a weekly Skype call does wonders for your happiness. You might even be helping them with the same challenges you're facing.

Running in winter workout clothes

Stay Hydrated

Jenna Fletcher with Medical News Today mentions that "sometimes the body loses water faster than a person can restore the balance. During these times, the body can become dehydrated. This can lead to complications, including dehydration headaches."

The brain consists mostly of water. Stay hydrated so your brain has enough water to function properly.

Accept Help

It's hard to admit you're struggling. You may not even recognize that you're struggling at first. Accept help from concerned family and friends.

You're not alone during this time. Seasonal depression is prevalent. Consider reaching out to a therapist if it starts to overwhelm you.

Stay Positive

Remember that it's not you that's sad — it's your brain. Your environment has massive control over your behaviors and emotions. Staying aware of the challenges you're experiencing reminds you to stay present and remember to fight through.

What Do People Wear in the Gym in Winter?

Getting out and going to the gym is an excellent way to fight the winter drama. You're probably used to layering up to go out in the winter. What do you wear to the gym?

Lots of people wear cooler clothes under warmer ones. Many wear shorts under pants and change when they get to the gym. Carrying a backpack or bag is beneficial for keeping clothes before and after your workout.

Be sure not to leave sweaty workout clothes in a pile after exercising. Leaving wet clothes in the dark leads to mold, bacteria growth, and odor.

Taking Care of Winter Workout Clothes

Workout clothes still get sweaty, even when it's cold. Sweat makes the perfect home for bacteria, so not caring for them properly may lead to altered fit and permanent odor.

Add some vinegar to your next wash cycle while cleaning your workout clothes. Vinegar is excellent for killing bacteria and removing any leftover odors.

Match your clothes to your workout. Don't wear too tight, restricting pants for your yoga routine. Skip the tennis skirt if you're lifting weights, as the extra fabric might get in the way.

Wearing winter hat, jacket, gloves

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Are you looking forward to the snowfall? What about fighting the urge to move to a warmer place? Your feelings about cold weather affect you more than you think.

Winter depression is real and plagues people throughout the United States. Colder weather makes it harder to exercise and be happy. Fighting off the cold weather through exercise is best for working through the winter.

Dress appropriately when exercising outdoors in the winter because the cold weather may affect you negatively. Keep your head, hands, and feet covered to maximize body heat, and take care of your workout clothes so they last longer.

Looking for more tips on winter workout wear? Visit Fit&Fab for tons of articles on running, working out, and thriving during the winter.

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