Milwaukee cross-country skiing

How to Keep Your Workout Safe During a Milwaukee Winter

Don’t let the cold weather stop you from getting fit outside.

Sometimes, you just can’t force yourself onto the treadmill one more time. But exercising al fresco brings its own unique set of health and safety concerns in the cold. For advice, we turned to Milwaukee’s chapter of the November Project, a free fitness group that meets every Wednesday at 6:26 a.m. for an outdoor workout, rain or shine (or polar vortex).

“Not letting the weather stop you creates a unique state of mental toughness,” says member Jonathan Young. “November Project is 100% hashtag-weatherproof, and never canceled.”

1. Get the Right Footwear

You need to slow your roll if you’re running in snowy or icy conditions. A pair of waterproof running shoes with good traction like On Running’s Cloudventure ($170 at Stan’s Fit for Your Feet) are worth checking out. Young also recommends Yaktrax, traction cleats that fit over running shoes.

2. Layer Up

Young wears a quick-drying compression shirt and tights as his base layer, then one or two longsleeved T-shirts, with running pants and a Buff, a sort of hybrid hat/ scarf made of thin, lightweight material. Otherwise, Young says, “on particularly cold days, sweat can actually freeze on your face.

3. Stay Safe in the Dark

In Milwaukee, the sun doesn’t rise until almost 7:30 a.m. on the shortest days, so the November Project favors well-lit venues like public parks for early workouts. Reflective clothing helps motorists see you, and some group members wear headlamps, too. Avoid wearing black.

This Story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s 2020 Winter Playbook

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Karisa Langlo is the Digital Editor for Milwaukee Magazine.