Wintertime Walking

I have always loved to walk! Going for a walk can completely change my perspective. It can be harder to get out there and walk in the wintertime, but I find it to be so enjoyable and therapeutic as long as I take a couple of things into consideration.

Do I really need to walk in the wintertime?

Of course walking outdoors is optional in the wintertime. I find that simply getting out in nature, no matter what the time of year, is very therapeutic for my mind as well as my body. On a dreary early evening a couple of weeks ago, after the time change, I was in a funk and not sure what to do with myself. Something told me that a brisk walk outside would make me feel better but I balked because it was a frigid day.

Finally I decided to just commit to a walk down to the edge of town, got dressed, and headed out. Once I got out into the fresh air and hit my stride, it felt so good, I went further. The trees with their crispy and dying leaves struck me as beautiful as the sun was setting. I was in a completely different frame of mind by the time I got back home and that feeling stuck with me. I made a mental note to get out & walk more often when I have that restless feeling and am not sure what to do with myself.

Walking at any time of year is a great form of exercise. Staying physically active all year long boosts our energy, our mood, and can help us sleep better. Walking is a great way to prevent or manage lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and many others.

Consistent exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself on so many levels. And walking is especially great because all we need is our own body to get a great workout. Plus it’s low impact so it’s very safe on your joints and low risk of injury.

Dressing for the elements

I hate to be cold! And since I’m past the age of caring about how stylish I look, I dress for comfort when I’m heading outside in the winter months. It’s better to be too warm then not warm enough, so I like to dress in layers that I can remove if I need to. The main areas that seem to bother me are ears & face, neck, and hands.

I invested in a light but warm pair of winter gloves this year. I was tired of wearing the kids mismatched mittens from when they were little. Even I have my standards!

Mifflinburg has a great (fairly) new store in the Subway plaza on the eastern edge of town called Mifflinburg Variety. I’d heard a lot of my friends talk about what great shoes & boots they were finding in there, so I stopped in once several months ago just to check it out. It seems to have sewing material & tools (haha obviously I’m not a sewer), but also a large selection of shoes & boots. So I popped back in the weekend before Thanksgiving when I was unsuccessful in finding a used coat that I liked on Ebay. I found a fabulous winter coat that I absolutely love! It’s made in Germany by a company called Killtec. Its black, fairly light, but very warm & stylish!

I headed out today with a turtleneck tucked into jeans, a sweater on top. My legs were a little cold by the end of the walk, so next time I may dig out my long underwear! I got a pair of Cuddle Duds a few years ago and those things work! They’re light enough to wear under jeans comfortably and they really help keep you warm!

And don’t forget a pocket full of tissues or napkins for when (not if) your nose starts to run.

Dealing with the darkness

My sister and I love to power-walk. My legs are long, but somehow my sister still kicks my butt on a walk. There’s no warm-up stroll with her! She gets right into it.

Last Friday night she texted about walking after work and I agreed. By the time she got over, 4:30 ugghhh, it was getting dark. So she brought a flashlight and I wore a head lamp. I laughed when my husband suggested it, but it actually came in handy when it was completely black at 5:30.

If you’re walking when it’s dark, it can be nice to stick to well-lighted areas in town or that you’re familiar with. I feel pretty safe walking outside of my little town on a road that is not very busy and has plenty of burm in case I need to get over.

I prefer walking in the daylight, but in the wintertime when there’s less of it, if you really want to get in your walk, you may have to think about walking in the dark. Even though I don’t prefer it, it’s not a deal-breaker for me. When my kids were little, I would meet my mother-in-law after work in the winter and we would walk the sidewalks in town. Not only did we get a great workout in, but our relationship grew closer because we had this time spent together a few evenings each week.

I also notice that same effect on my marriage when my husband and I start walking together. It can be a great time to talk about something serious, or maybe just to be silly. I find the combination of getting outside + physical activity is such a huge stress reliever and all-natural attitude adjuster for me! I hope you find the same! Do you walk in the winter? If so, let me know where!