Tips for exercising in the dark and rain

Outdoor activities in Pacific Northwest's gloomiest months offer more benefits than risks if you follow these tips.

Media Contact: Barbara Clements, 253-740-5043,

The starting gun to the UW Medicine Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon will sound on Sunday, Nov. 26. Competitors across the region might get their final warmup runs in dark, rainy conditions — which Pacific Northwesterners know are mainstays until spring.

But fear not! Gloom should not discourage anyone from a good workout or a walk outside, said Dr. Cindy Lin, clinical associate professor rehabilitation medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Just take a few safety precautions.

“You want to make sure you're in an area that’s either well-lit or that you have reflective clothing or lights, so that cars and other people can see you,” Lin said. “If you're going back after a workout and you're completely soaked, it's great to just change out of that right away to reduce the risk of hypothermia.”

Lin says moderate-intensity exercise, even during damp, cold days, boosts our immune systems — a useful effect during the fall virus season.

Wearing the right gear is a major component of successful autumn and winter workouts, she added.

“The key is to layer,” said Lin. “Have an outer layer that can help with the wind and the rain, and then you can have all these inner layers that you can peel off depending on the temperature.”

She said clothes made of synthetic materials, such as polyester, are a good idea on rainy days, due to being breathable and resistant to becoming drenched.

Download broadcast-ready soundbites, featuring Lin discussing exercise in the dark and rain.


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