Winter exercise: The best cold weather workout clothes

Okay, we know for many the idea of outdoor exercise in the winter sounds like hell on earth. But working out in the great outdoors has been shown to have plenty of mood-boosting, stress-relieving effects, from lessening the impact of seasonal affective disorder to increasing your levels of serotonin. You need to have the right clothes for your workout though – so what should you wear to exercise outside in cold weather?

outdoor winter running gear
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Whether you are running, cycling or training outdoors, it’s all about clothes that will keep you warm without over-heating. For this you need high-performance, technical fabrics and  layers that you can remove as you heat up. The right accessories including hats, gloves and scarves designed for exercise can also help.

Here’s our round-up of the best cold weather workout clothes, including leggings, jackets, tops and accessories to wear for winter exercise sessions.

The best workout clothes for cold weather exercise

Best leggings for outdoor workouts

outdoor workout leggings

Power reflective leggings, £75, Sweaty Betty

If you’re running in the dark, then a reflective pair of leggings will help you be seen and stay safe. Sweaty Betty leggings are super-comfy, supportive and, in our experience, worth the money!

outdoor workout leggings

Leopard print leggings, £25, Marks & Spencer

If the weather is grim you need fun, mood-boosting exercise gear to tempt you outside. These leggings definitely tick the box.

outdoor workout leggings

High-waisted leggings, £12.50, George at Asda

High-waisted leggings are great for winter running, when even a centimetre of exposed flesh under a ridden-up top could make you feel chilly.

outdoor workout leggings

Eco Therma running leggings, £95, Sweaty Betty

Made from recycled plastic, these leggings feature breathable, brushed fabric for winter warmth. Mmm snuggly.

Best jackets for outdoor workouts

outdoor workout jacket

Grey marl running jacket, £29.50, Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer’s workout gear packs a punch at a very reasonable price. This jacket features reflective trims and thumb holes to stop those drafts.

outdoor workout jacket

Lightweight gilet, £18, Tu at Sainsbury’s

If a full-on running jacket leaves you feeling too hot and sweaty, try keeping just your core warm with a gilet instead.

outdoor workout jacket

Running jacket, £198, Lululemon

An investment piece, for sure, but if you exercise outside regularly this breathable, lightweight, down-filled jacket – which promises to keep you warm even when wet – is a smart buy.

outdoor workout jacket

Running jacket, £80, Ronhill at John Lewis

How better to stand out on grey days than with this reflective jacket? It’s wind and water resistant.

outdoor workout jacket

Outdoor jacket, £24.99, H&M

Proving that technical sportswear doesn’t have to cost a fortune, this H&M jacket has handy pockets, a hood and an anti-chafe chin guard.

outdoor workout jacket

Leopard print jacket, £99.50 (was £199), The Upside at Net a Porter

If you fancy some designer workout gear at 50% off, then this jacket is perfect for your outdoor PT session.

Best tops for outdoor workouts

outdoor workout top

Ribbed top, £17.99, H&M

We love the fact this top has extra-long sleeves with thumb holes for winter.

outdoor workout top

Thermal high neck running top, £35, Marks & Spencer

As we all know, a chilly neck can make you feel icy all over, which is why we love this thermal funnel neck workout top.

outdoor workout top

Merinotec exercise top, £25, Marks & Spencer

A great base layer such as this breathable top will keep you warm and dry – layer under a workout jacket for ultimate protection against the elements.

outdoor workout top

Seamless long sleeve top, £55, Sweaty Betty

A sweat-wicking, long-sleeved top is great for keeping you cosy without over-heating. This versatile version from Sweaty Betty is suitable for most sports.

outdoor workout top

Double layer top, £25, Marks & Spencer

Made from recycled polyester, this top from M&S takes the effort out of layering up with its semi-sheer outer layer.

outdoor workout top

Hooded sports top, £19.99, H&M

With fast-drying, functional fabric, this top is a winner, especially thanks to the handy hood.

Best accessories for outdoor workouts

outdoor workout gloves

Cold terrain run gloves, £25, Lululemon

These multi-tasking gloves will keep your hands warm while also helping you stay seen on dark mornings and evenings.

outdoor workout scarf

Neck warmer, £4.99, Decathlon

The neck warmer is a small but powerful piece of clothing when it comes to winter workouts outdoors – you won’t regret this purchase!

outdoor exercise headband

Reflective headband, £10, Sweaty Betty

Keep your ears snug with this headband, which reflects light in the dark.

outdoor exercise gloves

Running gloves, £35, Sweaty Betty

Oh-so-warm and featuring touchscreen fingertips so you can change your music as you go.

outdoor exercise hat

Thermal hat, £15, Decathlon

Available in four colours – including a rather fetching luminous yellow – this hat is a winter workout essential.

outdoor exercise headband

Teddy headband, £6.99, H&M

An on-trend fabric means this headband looks as good as it will feel.