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Dress for the weather to enjoy the outdoors

The comments I get when talking to someone about being outside during the winter usually revolves around the weather. “It’s too cold” is something I wish I never hear again. We live in Alberta where it can, will and has snowed any time of year.

But when I look at what people are wearing when it is -20C outside, it’s no wonder why they are cold. Sometimes it looks like they just got off the plane from vacation in Mexico.

Dressing for the weather is the first line of defence for enjoying the outdoors during the winter months. Layering is the best way to stay warm. As your activity level changes, you can remove or add layers to stay comfortable.

Always start with a base layer that goes against your skin that is made of a moisture wicking material such as wool or polypropylene. These layers will draw sweat away from your body and are quick to dry. Stay away from cotton as it absorbs moisture and stays wet for a very long time.

Mid-layers provide insulation against the cold. If you sweat a lot, stick to fleece garment as it will dry faster and keep you comfortable. Down or synthetic insulated clothing are great for people who are easily chilled or don’t sweat much. They provide more warmth than fleece but take longer to dry if wet.

Outer-layers are usually a windproof layer in dry conditions or a waterproof-breathable layer in snowy or stormy conditions. A windproof layer will block the wind from chilling you to the bone. A waterproof-breathable layer will keep you working hard in stormy conditions by allowing moisture to escape but keep you protected from snow and wind.

Lastly, insulated winter boots and wool socks will keep your feet warm and dry. Footwear typically worn in the summer is not appropriate for winter. Frostbite and falls are major concerns during the winter months. Stay safe!

Don’t let the winter weather keep you inside. Enjoying physical activity outside is one of the best things you can do for not only your physical health, but also your mental health.

What do you do to keep warm and active in winter? Your comments could help inspire others.