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Mirror, Mirror: Ways to exercise warm when it gets cold

Don't let this mild December fool you. The chill is a-comin'.

New Balance Heat En Route Jacket, Performance printed tights, Heat hybrid vest.
New Balance Heat En Route Jacket, Performance printed tights, Heat hybrid vest.Read moreNew Balance

Don't let this mild December fool you.

The chill is a-comin'.

And if you're anything like Camille Enkeboll, a Hainesport, N.J., a fine digital artist who designs inspirational athletic gear, you know the importance of getting in a good outdoor workout, even when it's chilly.

"It's the best way to connect with nature and be mindful," said Enkeboll, 41. She has been exercising - running, doing aerobics, and being a member of a gym - since she was 12. "And it's the best way to get a good dose of vitamin D. We need that all year round."

Last fall, Enkeboll introduced a collection of fleece-lined sweatshirts and tree-rubber/microfiber-blend yoga mats - they don't slip on icy grass or patio - that she's aptly named Consciously Cool Chick.

The Consciously Cool Chick collection, which also includes T's and tanks, are embellished with colorful cursive words of empowerment like fearlessness, joy, balance, truth, wisdom, and trust. Sure, you might feel a bit brisk while holding that downward dog, but you'll be brimming with so much positive energy you'll be warm and fuzzy inside.

Not to mention, if you keep up your exercise regimen over the winter, think about the fabulous finishing times you'll earn for the growing number of early-spring races available - like the Love Run (a half-marathon) and the Hot Chocolate Run (a 5K or 15K), both at the beginning of April.

That said, you will need more than fleece sweats and rubber mats to survive those frosty mornings and blustery evenings. I asked local exercise (and fashion) gurus for their tips on staying warm when exercising in the cold.

Layer up, says James Fiorello, a personal trainer at Life Time Athletic Mount Laurel. Long-sleeve T's made from a wicking cotton are ideal for keeping your core and arms warm when it's below 30 degrees outside. Vests also help to keep chests, backs, and abdomens insulated during a below-zero run. "As you warm up," Fiorello said, "you can remove layers to keep the body from overheating."

Keep it bright. Nothing injects a little sunshine on a dreary ski slope than a bright jacket - my favorite is coral/hot pink - and a pair of patterned thermal leggings. They aren't hard to find, as brands like Lululemon, Athleta, Kohl's, and New Balance offer a rainbow of colorfully saturated options. "I absolutely love wearing bright colors," said Rachel Rubin, the fitness expert for New Balance in the Philadelphia area. "Not only does it keep you looking fresh, but the energy and the vibrancy gets you motivated."

Don't forget a hat. Fashion on and off the track dictates your head gear be floppy or pom-pommed. Both are on-the-go and urbane. But a tight-fitting beanie fashioned from stretch knit can work well - especially when the wind chill goes south. "Heat likes to escape through your head," Rubin said. "Pick a hat that's long enough to pull over your ears to keep them warm as well."

Gloves are crucial - although mittens keep your hands warmer, says Fiorello. One trick, Rubin says, "is to grab some hand warmers and slip them into your gloves." Note: There are foot warmers, too.

Don't shy away from wool. New Balance has started using wool for cold-weather workout gear because it traps heat close to the body while it wicks sweat from the skin, explained Rubin. Just be sure to use some antichafing skin protection so you can move around more comfortably.