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It’s been a long, cold winter, but spring is here and it’s time to get fit! The season may technically be spring, but there’s a good chance we’ve still got some cold days and melted snow ahead of us. That’s not going to keep us from heading outside, but we’d still like to keep our feet warm and dry and clothes unmuddied.
Here are 10 spring fitness tips to keep you comfortable while you exercise during the winter thaw.
Trade your winter parka in for a light, packable waterproof jacket and pants. You need full-body protection against splash-back when you run through puddles, and using lightweight, packable gear ensures that you won’t leave it behind to cut weight and then end up wet and cold.
Abandon any thoughts of protecting your footwear from mud, slush and puddles. Let those shoes or boots sacrifice themselves to keep your feet dry — that’s their job. Most waterproof boots or shoes have a waterproof bootie sewn into the body of the shoe. As long as this bootie isn’t pierced and you don’t step into water that’s higher than its edge, your feet will stay warm and dry.
It might be winter one day and spring the next, then flip back and forth a few times before it’s done. Cope with the changing extremes by leaving room for layering underneath your waterproof jacket and pants. Check the forecast before you go and take extra layers if necessary, or even better yet, just leave an extra top and bottom layer or two in your vehicle or pack all the time.
Invest in a pair of ice grippers that slip on over your boots or shoes just in case you encounter water-slicked ice. Tuck them into your fanny pack or under the seat of your car so they’re always nearby if you need them.
Having a box in your car or a pack by the door always ready to go helps keep you organized and makes sure that what you need is always available. Tuck your pants and jacket, an extra layer for top and bottom, extra socks, your ice grippers and your waterproof shoes with gaiters into the box or pack. If you happen to throw a bottle of water and an energy bar in there too, you’ll be your own hero once that post-workout hunger and thirst set in.
It’s easy to remember important workout gear, like your shoes or jacket, but there are a few small things that will optimize your spring fitness time. Sunglasses help shield your eyes from cold winds and spring sun all at the same time. Always have an extra pair of dry socks available.
If you’re smart about your spring fitness shopping, you can get essential springtime outdoor gear — like waterproof or throwaway shoes, or waterproof outerwear and ice grippers — for less than the cost of gas and a month’s membership to the gym. That’s not counting the free benefits of fresh air, sun and sky you get from working out outside.
If money’s too tight for spring fitness gear, you can still have fun in the mud on a budget. Use a garbage bag as your stay-dry poncho — poke or cut holes for your head and arms. Use plastic bags to keep your feet dry — slide sock-clad feet into a layer of plastic bag before donning your non-waterproof shoes. Your shoes will still get wet and muddy, but your feet won’t, although be warned that they will collect sweat and condensation inside the bags.
Perhaps most important, take care of your spring fitness investments so they last. If your shoes or clothing are wet or muddy, rinse or wipe them clean and allow them to dry in a well-ventilated place so they won’t mold or mildew. Lastly, protect anything waterproof — such as pack covers, outerwear or tent layers — from abrasion as much as possible to help prolong the life of the waterproof coating.
Spring may present unpredictable weather, puddles and even a residual winter snow, but being prepared to brave the elements will make your outdoor spring workouts fun and effective.
Information by Lisa Maloney from Sheknows.com.