If you’re someone who enjoys exercising outdoors, the fall is probably one of your favorite seasons because you usually don’t have to worry about the sweltering, humid heat nor the frigid, frozen temps. The autumn season, which runs from September to December is typically more mild, but you should still consider updating your workout gear for fall.
You can expect quite a dip in temperature and should prepare for the unique seasonal elements accordingly, which may mean wearing additional pieces of workout gear for fall that you may not have worn for your indoor workouts. “When you train in the cold, your body has to still cool off, as you are producing heat, just like a normal indoor workout, however, your body is working harder as it tries to maintain a normal body temperature due to the surrounding outdoor cold temperatures,” explains Roger E. Adams, Ph.D., doctor of nutrition, personal trainer and owner of eatrightfitness. “All this effort still makes you sweat and generates heat—and this heat must leave your body.”
What happens if you wear the wrong, or inadequate, workout gear for fall and the weather changes? The additional heat that your body creates could get trapped, which can lead to overheating. What’s more: Dr. Adams warns that if you don’t wear clothing that allows the sweat to evaporate from your skin, you can run the risk of it sticking to your skin and actually making you colder. “The outdoor temperatures try to lower the temperature of the moisture on your skin, which, in turn, makes you shiver and increases the work on your body to stay warm,” he says. “It’s a vicious cycle that can eventually lead to too much water loss and dehydration.”
Not sure where to begin when it comes to shopping for outdoor exercise clothes for fall? Don’t worry—we have you covered. We reach out to the pros to get their take on what to look for in each category.
Chances are, you own a couple pairs of leggings, some of which you workout in. That’s great! But when it comes to outdoor exercise, you have to be choosy with the type of leggings you wear, especially when picking workout gear for fall. Dr. Adams recommends finding a pair that are warm, but also that don’t restrict movement anyway. Additionally, he suggests a pair that are made of a moisture-wicking material so that it pulls sweat off the surface of your skin while you workout to prevent you from getting colder. “Polypropylene or other synthetic materials in leggings are great for pulling the sweat off your skin and allowing quicker drying,” he says. “Unlike other layers you can wear and take off as you get warmer, your leggings stay on, so you want to make sure they don’t trap heat and sweat.”
Shop: Lululemon Keep the Heat Thermal High-Rise Tight 27″
Insulated long-sleeve shirts
You might think that all long-sleeve shirts can be beneficial for fall workouts, but, as the weather gets colder, it’s really the insulated ones that make all the difference, according to Stephanie Mansour, a Chicago-based weight loss coach and corporate wellness trainer. She recommends using them as one of the base layers of your outdoor exercise gear for fall and the colder weather. “These types of shirts are meant to keep in the heat, but have the added bonus of being super comfortable!” she says. She usually looks for sweat-resistance, security and warmth when shopping for insulated long sleeve shirts.
Shop: Nike Men’s Pro Therma Dri-FIT Long Sleeve Shirt
Most people only think to wear a neck warmer if they’re participating in winter activities, but they can also come in handy when choosing workout gear for fall. In addition to helping protect your face from the elements like sun and wind, they also shield out dirt, dust and snow. “They cover your mouth, nose and ears so they can also double as a mask if you need to run in quickly to a grocery store or something,” adds Stephanie George, certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. When shopping for neck warmers for fall, she recommends looking for ones that are sweat wicking and wind resistant and have breathability.
Shop: Lululemon Fleece-Lined Knit Neck Warmer
One of the first parts of your body that will feel the cold temps is likely your hands, especially your fingers. For that reason, it’s essential to have a quality pair of gloves. “Fingers are very susceptible to frostbite and it can be hard to grip things with cold hands,” says George. “Plust, if you suffer from sweaty palms this can be a serious concern as temperatures drop so gloves will be paramount if you’re exercising outside for long periods of time.” She recommends shopping for a pair of workout gloves that are sweat-wicking, have a good grip and are waterproof in case it rains or snows. It also helps if the gloves are touch-screen compatible so that you can use your phone or device to change songs or answer texts or calls.
Shop: New Balance Lightweight Running Gloves
“Thick socks can sometimes be uncomfortable when working out outside, however, there are certain pairs of thick socks that are meant for outdoor workouts and help keep your feet warm,” says Mansour. “When looking for thick socks for working out, I make sure that they’re breathable and moisture wicking.” That last one is important, since you don’t want your feet sliding around in your shoes!
Shop: Women’s Tri-Block Marl Ankle Sock 6-Pack
Warm exercise headbands are not only comfortable and stylish for walks or runs outside, but they also fulfill the important role of keeping your ears warm during the fall and winter months, notes George. When picking workout gear for fall, she always looks at the fabric of a headband to make sure it’s comfortable and warm before purchasing.
Shop: The North Face Chizzler Headband
Dr. Adams recommends wearing shoes that are a half or full size larger than you need when training in the cold months. “This allows for thicker socks or layered socks,” he says. “If your shoes are too tight, this can lead to blisters, or even change your running gait, but choosing a slightly larger size when adding thicker socks will help ensure comfort.”
Shop: Brooks Levitate 5