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Don’t Let It Rain on Your Parade
Written by October 5, 2009

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

physical activity
Don’t Let It Rain on Your Parade

Summer has gone and fall is blowing in.  For many parts of the country that means more rain and often an excuse to retreat to the dry comfort of the couch.  But if you prepare both your body and your mind, you can be an all-season exerciser.

Prepare Your Body

Unlike the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz (she was the one who melted when Dorothy threw a bucket of water on her, remember?), you’re not going to melt if you get wet.  Still, you don’t want to miserable.  Let’s start at the top.

Wear a cap with a bill or brim.  This will help keep the rain out of your eyes or off your glasses.

Wear a water-resistant and windproof jacket and pants.  Be wary of waterproof.  Yes, water won’t be able to get in but it also usually means that the heat and moisture your body produces when you exercise won’t escape efficiently.  That can lead to overheating and at the very least, being extremely uncomfortable with soggy clothes.  I also recommend wearing water-resistant and windproof pants because the rain that drains off your jacket will end up soaking your thighs and knees.  Not fun.

Water wicking fabric is what you want next to your skin.  Look for clothes that tout “moisture-wicking” “dry release,” “dri-fit” or similar descriptors.  They are made of synthetic fabrics that pull the sweat moisture away from your skin and let it evaporate better.  This helps you stay at a comfortable temperature in hot or cold weather.  

If it is rainy and cold, sandwich a layer between your jacket your base layer for warmth.  Again, choose a water wicking fabric.  Vests work well because they keep your body core warm but aren’t too restrictive or bulky.

On your feet, go for wool-blend or moisture-wicking socks.  Wearing cotton will lead to wet feet and increased risk of blisters. 

As for shoes, skip the leather and go for synthetic material.  It will be lighter when wet and it will dry much faster.  Better yet, have two pairs of walking/exercise shoes so that you can switch off while a wet pair dries.  To speed drying, stuff wet shoes with newspapers or paper towels.  Also, make sure you have a good tread on both pair of shoes. 

Prepare Your Mind

Okay, now you know how to dress for physical activity success in the rain.  You still have to get out the door.   And that starts in your head.

Keep your goals in mind.  Think about how skipping your physical activity for a day or two or more will affect your progress.  If you don’t  have a physical activity goal, make one right now.  Here’s a link to an earlier blog that will help you.

Rain is not going to hurt you.  C’mon.  Wrap your head around the fact that getting wet is not harmful.  But wait for lightning storms to pass and be mindful of slick conditions such as leaves or mud in your path. 

Make it child’s play.  Find puddles to splash in (watch out for deep holes though).  Dance around light poles like Gene Kelly did in the movie, “Singing in the Rain.”  Laugh and giggle at your silliness.  There is something very cleansing and freeing about accepting and enjoying Mother Nature in all her forms.  

People have lots of reasons (aka excuses) for not being physically active when raindrops fall.  Yes, you could be active inside.  But these strategies will help you live with and love the rain.

How do you keep rain from wrecking your physical activity plans?

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