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Winter Running: Attribute, Gear and Principles

Running is very beneficial throughout the winter months and can be done anytime, anywhere, even in short bursts of time; but there are some prerequisites.
01:00 AM Jan 17, 2024 IST | Guest Contributor
winter running  attribute  gear and principles

Running is the best form of exercise in winter. But it is avoided by most people in Kashmir resulting in loss of the appreciable gains in other seasons. On the other side handful of athletes and athletic associations are promoting winter running to raise awareness about the same.


Running is very beneficial throughout the winter months and can be done anytime, anywhere, even in short bursts of time; but requires some prerequisites.



Immune System: Jogging in winter enhances the body’s powers of resistance. If you run at a reasonable speed, you can train your body to resist coughs, colds and other infections.


Mood Enhancing: Cold weather running can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers, leading to a boost in mood and overall wellbeing.


Prevent Depression: Winter running effectively prevents and even treats Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of winter depression.


Aerobic Activity: A major benefit of running in cold weather is that you’re getting some aerobic exercise. Adults need an average 150 min of moderately intense aerobic activity or 75 minutes of more vigorous exercise each week. A couple of brisk runs outside could easily help you achieve those goals (CDC).


Burn more Calories

Running in cold weather can “cause your body to work harder to maintain its core temperature, resulting in increased calorie expenditure during your run. There have also been studies done that show cold weather can activate a type of tissue we have called ‘brown fat,’ which speeds metabolism.”( K.Bowling, ACSM).

Running Gear

Protecting Head and Hands

Unprotected hands are gateways to lose body heat. There are many nerve endings in the scalp and face, which make them much more sensitive to cold than other parts of the body though not major exit to body temperature. Therefore, wearing a cap and gloves make you feel comfortable in cold temperatures. Special running caps made of functional fibers are ideal, as they drain perspiration away to the outside, but do not absorb any moisture themselves. Full face antifogging, antispray shield is a better way of additional protection. Balaclava or a neck gaiter with zippers is also recommending gear, so you can vary the air flow near your body in changing conditions.

Protecting Upper Body

Running for about 2-3 km body begins to warm up. You'll soon feel uncomfortable but it’s too chilly to remove your upper or jacket. Conversely, some runners will dress excessively light, thinking that their body heat will increase during the run. Soon they regret while their numb extremities will remind them of their error. Be judicious about the fabrics you choose.

Protecting  Limbs

Winter running trousers are having utmost importance in outdoor workout. A water proof material commonly used during skiing are not advisable owing to their heavy sweating  besides rubbing tend to chafe the more “sensitive” areas leading to rashes and fungal infections. On the other hand cotton trousers adsorb moisture to make legs chilling and cracking.  Both the ways it is a squeal to absolute discomfort. Running tights or fleece-lined leggings will be more comfortable instead even for shorter runs. Woolen trousers having bigger inner space for intra air circulation is another better choice.

Protecting Feet

Summer running shoes are not suitable in winter as they lack the necessary support required for running in wetness, on slippery leaves and ice.

Running Principles

Warm up First

Warm up when it’s cold outside. Most runners don’t warm up, possibly provoking muscular spasm and soreness. When brisk air hits muscles that haven’t been properly warmed up, the combination of cold and reduced air pressure causes joint tissues to expand, restricting movement. In order to properly stimulate the metabolism of our muscles, it is important to warm up slowly, yet carefully. 15 minutes slow work out with some dynamic stretches are advisable.

Stay Hydrated

Profuse sweating though not a thing of winters but that doesn’t eliminate the necessity to stay hydrated. Hydration is important during the winter as cold air has less moisture than warm air, which means each time you inhale and exhale, the dry air steals a little bit of moisture from your lungs. Also, lower temperatures trick your body into ignoring its need for fluids. Therefore, you should hydrate even when you don’t feel thirsty  having at most  one cup of fluid every 20 minutes.

Stay Visible

Winters are usually associated with fog and darker days especially during morning. Runners have to run more carefully than usual; obstacles, blocked roads, icy spots, vehicles are evident at last moment, on the other hand runners, cyclists, or car drivers cannot see us well. Wearing of bright and reflective outer layers or having reflective strip, or full high vis clothing are apt avoiding comprising one's safety.

Right Posture

Run upright and pay attention to your body’s center of gravity: icy surfaces increase the risk of slipping.

Shower immediately

Once we have finished our workout, the first thing we should do is take a shower. This prevents us from getting cold or even hypothermic. Avoid too hot water; keep it at below 45 C. This will aid in muscle relaxation and hastens recovery.

By Dr Anwar Hussain Nagoo


Dr. Anwar Hussain Nagoo, Block Veterinary Officer (J&K Govt.), President Foreshore Athletes and Secretary J&K Skyrunning Association