We often hear that walking is one of the best exercises we can do as we age, but how do we get out walking in winter? Do you worry about slippery ice, or does the cold temperatures stop you from wanting to go outside?
You aren’t alone. I love going for walks and frequently do a 4km route near my home. But as the days got shorter and the temperatures began to dip, I knew I had to plans to keep walking in winter.
If walking outside on the snow and ice doesn’t amuse you – then consider where you can for a walk inside.
Many malls welcome those who like to walk. Malls such as Southgate Mall have a walking map that helps you understand the distance travelled for a set route. Any indoor mall where you can do one or multiple laps allows you to get in your steps, while dressing comfortably. You may want to leave your jacket in your car, or just wear a light jacket that can be tied around your waist. Go early morning or later in the evening for the lowest crowds.
Your local gym or fitness centre may have a running track with a slow lane for walking. Again, you can be indoors and store your valuables in a locker. Although there is often a membership fee, there may be a seniors rate or punch card option so you only pay for the visits you make.
If you are adventurous or love the fresh air, then walking outside is the absolute best for your physical and mental health.
Good Footwear – wear shoes that have good deep treads with lots of texture for best grip. Make sure you wear warm wool socks.
Walking Poles – using walking poles with carbon tips to grip into ice can be another source of support and stability on uncertain ground. My walking poles have different ends, so I can change the tip for the terrain and weather I am in. You can learn more in my walking pole article.
Dress in Layers – I have fleece lined leggings which I wear under fleece lined pants. They allow me to easily move without too much weight added, but keep me toasty warm. I also dress in layers including a vest under my winter jacket. I also have a couple layers over my head and ears. So far I’ve been out walking in -15 and still comfortable.
Try a New Route – the City of Edmonton and many municipalities offer walking maps. Edmonton has beautiful river valley trails just waiting for you to explore. Going some place new can help you be excited for going out in the colder weather.
Make Your Walk Interesting
Have a friend join you for the walks. Having an accountability partner keeps you out there walking regardless of the weather.
Find a podcast or audio book to listen to on your walk. Not only will it distract you from the cold temperatures but it will also help the time fly by. Learning something new and getting a walk can be a great combination.
Change it up with snowshoes or cross country skis. You can also vary your walking speed to give your body a little harder workout. Regardless of what you do, ensure it feels safe and comfortable for your abilities.
Where ever you decide to walk – the key is to just keep walking. Don’t let the weather stop you! Find an indoor location where you can go walk or get dressed and prepared for the elements.
Tell me where your favourite places are to walk in the winter, in the comments section below.