You made it through those hot and sweaty summer months and are now onto the most beautiful season of the year, fall. You are done trying to decide how minimal you can dress while still being socially acceptable, because it is time to start thinking about layers. The weather is changing but it is more than worth it to stay active outside even though it is getting colder and the conditions are going to start to change.
It is my goal to help people stay outside throughout the entire year. Nature is an amazing thing, no matter what time of year it may be. So keep moving and stay outside. It makes being active more enjoyable and worthwhile.
Let’s talk temperature first. For outdoor runners, bikers, walkers or other active individuals, I recommend dressing by the rule of 20. This means you should dress as if it were 20 degrees warmer than it actually is outside. This rule will vary from person to person, but it is a good starting point if you are unsure of how heavy you should dress. Overdressing during this time of the year is not ideal. It will cause you to get hot quicker, causing you to sweat more, which could result in you catching a chill, and that is just not fun at all.
Since overdressing is something we want to avoid, layering appropriately is key. There are three layers to consider when dressing, but please know that not all of the layers are always necessary. The first layer closest to the body is known as the base layer. This layer is the most important since it is physically touching your skin. I cannot stress enough how important it is for this layer to be your dry layer, or moisture-wicking layer. We want to get the sweat away from your body as quickly as possible during the cold seasons to avoid catching a chill. This layer can be lightly fleece-lined, merino wool or even silk, but just keep in mind this layer should be performance-based.
The next layer is the mid-layer. The mid-layer is the insulating layer. This could be your fleece half-zip or something of the like. If the weather is super cold, this is a layer you could double if necessary. If you begin to get to warm, you could remove it.
The final layer is your outer layer. This is the layer that protects you from the elements, such as rain and wind. This layer is not designed to keep you super warm. You will be making enough heat on your own during your outdoor activities. This is designed to defend you against the elements.
The hours of daylight are limited during this time of year and with busy lives and schedules, most will find themselves out and about during poorly lit times of the day. It is incredibly important to wear clothing that is highly reflective or to wear additional pieces such as lights or reflective vests to help others see you better. Consider getting your dog a reflective leash or a flashing light to put on his/her collar to wear. The more you can wear to attract the attention of others, the better for everyone during the darker months of the year.
My feet are cold all the time so this is an area I pay extra attention to. Socks could not be more important for outdoor activities. Just like the rest of your body, we want to keep your feet as dry as possible as well. Please try to keep your feet as far away from cotton as possible. Cotton will get wet and stay wet. It is important to wrap feet in synthetics or, my personal favorite, merino wool.
Hands & Head
Your hands and head are the final pieces we need to protect from the weather. Keep the layer on your head light, simple and synthetic since this is where the majority of your heat will be released. We still want this piece to dry quickly to avoid catching a chill.
Hands are decently easy. Wear something comfortable and not distracting. Mittens are a great option to consider because it allows your fingers to touch to stay warm.