Top Tips For Walking In The Winter
Tips For Walking In The Winter
You love to walk and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. But what happens when the weather cools and you face rain, ice and snow? Do you put your daily walk on ice until the spring? Don’t let a bit of cold weather send you into hibernation. Walking in winter can be invigorating. Walking itself is one of the easiest forms of exercise and can prevent degenerative health problems like osteoporosis and those dreaded stiff joints.
Bundle up and get outdoors with these top tips for walking in the winter.
Take It Slow
You don’t need to charge to the end of your street to get a good pace going for your walk and in winter, you need to take it slow. When you first step outside, your going to really feel the cold and your muscles are likely to contract. Start with a slower, even pace to get your blood circulating and sending warmer blood to your muscles. Once you limber up, you can easily pick up the pace.
Add Those Layers
You wouldn’t leave the warmth of your home in the middle of winter in flimsy clothing so bundle up and put on those winter layers. That means thermal exercise gear or warm tracksuits. You will also need a lightweight, insulated jacket and winter boots. Gloves, scarves and hats are also a must, especially if you live in a region where the mercury takes a below zero dive. By wearing a few layers, you can peel one or two offs if you start to get too warm. Wear clothing that is thermal in nature and wicks away moisture. The last thing you need is to overheat and sweat because sweat is water that will feel icy when you slow down.
Color Your World
If you like to walk before or after work, you’re probably walking early in the morning or just before evening. There are less daylight hours in winter so dark-colored clothing is not a good idea. Wear brighter colors so you will be seen by cars and other people. Where possible, find bright colored clothing with reflective panels or items that have flashing lights.
Before the cold weather starts, winter-proof your shoes. You can get this done in some footwear stores or you can buy the spray and do it yourself at home. When we talk about winter-proofing your boots, we are generally referring to getting them waterproofed. Cold, wet feet are uncomfortable at the best of times, but in winter it can be downright dangerous and painful.
Also, check the soles of your winter shoes. If your winter shoes are a couple of years old, the tread can be worn down to a dangerous slipperiness. Take them to your cobbler and have them resoled with a tread that will give you lots of grip when you hit ice and snow.
Hiking Is Extraordinary In Winter
Hiking mountains and forests in spring and summer is amazing. Nature is in full bloom and you are surrounded in lush greens and a riot of color. Winter, on the other hand, is extraordinary. Nature takes on a special kind of glory when it is covered with a bright, white layer of powder. It does make hiking more challenging, but it is infinitely more rewarding. The views are spectacular and the cool air really makes you feel alive. Just make sure you put on the right footwear. You’ll really appreciate the comfort and warmth of a good pair of snow boots. Pair them with thick socks and several warm layers and enjoy the great outdoors at its best. If the snow is quite deep, switch snow boots for snow shoes. No more excuses, just get out there and have fun.
Enjoy Local Parks
If you can’t get to nature outside of the city, look for some aspects of nature in your local parks. Most parks have walkways and you can get a thoroughly enjoyable walk during your lunch break. Put the leash on your dog and let them enjoy a walk with you or put junior in the pram and let the kids experience some invigorating fresh air. You’ll be doing wonders for their immunity and yours as well.
You can also walk to your local stores, walk to work or take your lunch to the park. It’s time to put on those winter shoes and get moving.
Choose Your Path Carefully
Don’t just wander off onto any path without looking first. Ice and snow are often difficult to see and sometimes, what looks like fluffy snow has a thick layer of slippery ice underneath it. Step on that and you may end up crashing on your rear end. Tread carefully and avoid walkways in parks that aren’t regular shoveled. Emergency rooms in winter are often filled with people who didn’t watch their step, slipped and ended up with serious injuries.
Go The Extra Mile And Run
Alternate your walk with a few bursts of running, but do so carefully. Running on snow and ice activates your stabilizing muscles so that your inner and outer legs need to work harder. That’s why you should only run in short bursts. Your choice of shoes is extra important if you want to run on snow. Choose running shoes with non-slip soles and the uppers should be higher than your ankles to avoid snow getting in your shoes. Thick socks that wick away moisture are also a must if you plan on walking and running for longer periods.
You may think you don’t need so much water in winter. Nothing could be further from the truth. You’ll still need to remain hydrated so take that water bottle with you. Cold water may not be a good idea so get a water bottle that doubles as a thermos. You don’t need the water to be hot and green tea is also a great way to hydrate when walking in winter. If nothing else, walk to your local coffee shop and have a hot beverage there.
- No excuses: How to layer up for walking in cold weather, Harvard Health Publishing
- Helpful Hints When Walking on Snow or Ice, Iowa State University