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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.