7 Ways to Step Up Your Walking Game this Winter

Marc Lindsay
by Marc Lindsay
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7 Ways to Step Up Your Walking Game this Winter

During the winter when the temperatures are near freezing and the wind is blistering, it can be difficult to get outside to walk daily. But instead of letting your motivation wane and eventually stop your walking workouts altogether, there are ways you can adapt to the conditions and continue your healthy habits.

1

TAKE MORE SHORT WALKS

In extreme weather, braving the conditions to walk long distances might not always be a good idea. Instead of going out for an hour at a time, consider breaking your walks into more manageable chunks. Several short walks of 10- or 20- minutes throughout your day can be just as beneficial as one long walk, and when it’s really cold, they can be easier for your body to tolerate.

2

WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHES

Being comfortable and staying safe when it’s cold outdoors starts with having the right gear. This means layering your clothing, wearing the right shoes and relying on accessories that can aid your traction.

3

MIX IT UP WITH INDOOR WALKS

One of the reasons you might walk less during the winter is because walking outdoors day after day in the cold begins to feel like a chore instead of an enjoyable activity. Make it a goal to get outdoors a few times per week when the weather allows, and on the days when conditions are poor change it up with an indoor walk instead. Mall walking, treadmills or even a walking workout video that can be done at home are all suitable alternatives.

4

TRY MID-DAY WALKS

The coldest part of the day is the early morning or evening. While these times of day are ideal for most walkers during the warmer months, in the winter a mid-day walk might be a better option. When your schedule allows, heading out during the hours between noon and 5 p.m. allows you to walk during the warmest part of the day. The sunshine can also help you feel a little less cold, and can be good for a mental boost while improving your overall mood.

5

DON’T FORGET A GOOD WARM UP

One trick walkers should utilize in the winter is to complete a good warmup routine indoors before opening the door to go outside. This helps get your blood flowing, loosens up your joints and makes muscle and tendon strains less likely. Warming up first also makes the colder temperatures not feel as frigid once you do head out. Try walking in place for 5 minutes or completing a couple sets of jumping jacks or squats.

6

CONSIDER MUSIC OR AN AUDIOBOOK

Sometimes you just need a distraction. Instead of focusing on how cold you are, listen to music, a podcast or an audiobook. This keeps your mind busy with something you enjoy rather than concentrating on negative thoughts. Music can be motivating and helps the miles tick by at a faster pace. If you prefer a different form of entertainment, audiobooks can help you escape to a different place. And if you only listen to your books during your walks, wanting to know what will happen next in a good story can be just want you need to get out the door each day.

7

TREAT YOURSELF WHEN YOU GET HOME

After a walk in freezing temperatures, warming up once you’re back inside is essential. In addition to a new set of comfortable clothes and a cozy blanket, reward your efforts with a relaxing warm bath or a healthy treat like these chocolate peanut butter bites or the occasional cup of hot cocoa.

About the Author

Marc Lindsay
Marc Lindsay

Marc is a freelance writer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Portland State University and is a certified physical therapy assistant. An avid cyclist and runner of over 20 years, Marc contributes to LAVA, Competitor and Phoenix Outdoor magazines. He is the former cycling editor for Active.com.

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16 responses to “7 Ways to Step Up Your Walking Game this Winter”

  1. Avatar Al Bartraw says:

    One thing I do is park further out in the parking lots. I go grocery shopping or a trip to Walgreens, I park in a far off parking spot. Gives me a few more steps.

  2. Avatar Golda Tyla says:

    Learning to enjoy walking with my FitBit Flex bracelet keeping track of my steps. It helps also to walk with a purpose — even walking the mall and stepping into and through the stores (without stopping) is enjoyable. Amazing how many steps I can do in a day —- lots more than I ever thought.

  3. Avatar Mindful Life Weight Loss says:

    These are great ways to build in more walking. I take many of my phone calls as “walking phone calls” especially if I know they will be long ones. I also like to sneak in extra footsteps here and there. For example, if I have an appointment or am running an errand, I will walk around the block rather than directly into the building. It doesn’t add much time to my day, but adds up on my pedometer. Plus, being outside has been shown to improve mood and energy levels.

  4. Avatar Betsy says:

    Good ideas but 24000 steps for 4 phone calls? I don’t think so. I walk 4 miles every day for exercise and as much as I can the rest of the day/night and am nowhere near that. Went to Disney a few weeks ago – early morning til closing and my steps were only 16000+.

  5. Avatar Nay says:

    If you can I would suggest walking home from work if you don’t live too far away. I usually find I can walk home at least twice a week because when I don’thave evening appointments and I live about 3 to 4 miles from the office. It takes time but it does allow you to decompress from your day and saves on public transport so win/win.

    • Avatar Michele L'Intenditore says:

      I’ll do this every day, and I save money. I don’t have to pay either the bus or the fuel, and I could easily stop if I have to buy groceries or make some
      errands.

      Best of all, instead to get angrier with the idiots texting while driving, or the ones pretending to get in the bus fron the exit door with a giant cradle and huge bags before people hopped off.

      So win/win.

  6. Avatar Willy says:

    If you live in a snowy area buy some snowshoes. Ramps up the calorie burn and also lets you get out to places you might not normally walk in the winter. Nothing more beautiful than snowshoeing through the snowy woods.

  7. Avatar Carol says:

    I’ve been trying to walk every day to build up bone strength, after having broken a femur 7 months ago. I’m up to 2 miles daily and find that it’s given me more energy and improved my posture.

  8. Avatar Trista Smith says:

    I think it’s ironic that I’m sitting here “surfing” the internet to read your blog and you are telling me to stop “surfing” and go for a walk. hee hee

  9. Avatar Tipkal says:

    I believe every little bit (or step!) counts. I’ve switched from having my house as “convenient” as possible to the opposite and have set it up so I need to take as many steps as I can in order to accomplish a task.

  10. Avatar Ella Barton Bottomley says:

    I like the audiobook idea, but remember you can often download them free through your local library. Thanks!

  11. Avatar Robert says:

    Since I have an hour lunch break at work, I walk to do my errands. If I have a letter to mail I walk to the post office downtown, or if I need cash I walk to the bank downtown, or if I need something from the pharmacy, I walk downtown (about a mile each way to downtown).

  12. Avatar Janett Porter says:

    I found out not quite a year ago that my tyroid was dieing. Have tried to loose the weight it has caused me to put on. I haven’t changed the way I have eaten so I don’t understand why the weight hasn’t come off. I Wade 128 to132. Was happy at those weight. When I got to 132 I would watch it. It’s not working for me now. I am at a loss as to what to do. My exercise is limited because of my knees and lower back. Help.

    • Avatar Doctor says:

      Light swimming ? Like floating and such and it should not put too much stress if not try high impact slow moving workouts.

  13. Avatar Cathy says:

    Yes I love walking with my dog or on my own or mother. It is so much fun early in the morning and it is so gentle on your body. It lifts my mood for the day, helps with constipation and it gets you out of the house into the world. So see other walkers and say good morning to them. See the dustbin collectors and also see and smell fresh air. Just wonderful.

  14. Avatar Nick Davis says:

    What is more important is finding a way to integrate it into your lifestyle, starting to get fit, getting mobile and out and around is harder to start and maintain until it does become a habit… I’ve been walking three times a day, once at lunch and morning and evening with my dog. Combining this with a sensible daily calorie count has resulted in me losing 21lbs in 60days… Low impact works yo!

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