Staying Active (and warm!) in Cooler Weather

Posted by Jesse Flores on

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The days are getting shorter. The weather is getting colder and visions of Netflix nights wrapped in a warm blanket and sipping cocoa might be dancing in your head. But don’t forget to get out and get active! Winter can be hard on our mental health (especially this year!), and physical activity is a great way to beat those winter blues. But what the heck can you do when the snow is falling and the temps are dropping? Don’t worry, we’ve got some ideas. 
Here are some winter activities that can keep you busy and moving this winter (and some tips on how to stay warm while you’re out!). 
 

Winter Activities

Visit a Nature Center

You might not know it, but many nature centers stay open all year long with programming specifically designed to celebrate the beauty of your area in the winter. From owl-watching hikes to winter camps, visiting a nature center can be a great way to get outside, learn more about your local environment, and stay active while you hike on wintery trails. 
Even if their visitor center isn’t open, most have trails you can take advantage of all year long. So bundle up and head out into nature!

Winter Walking

Whether you do it at a nature center, on trails at a nearby park, or just through your neighborhood, walking in the winter can be breathtaking (because of the beautiful scenery and because it’s a great workout!). Trudging through snow adds extra resistance which can help get your heart rate up and build strength. If you want to get more social in your walking you can look for virtual races or marathons in your area or get a group together in your neighborhood to get in 5,000 social-distanced steps. 

Snowshoeing 

Snowshoeing is a fun and easy way to get out, get the heart pumping, and get active in the winter. A great low-impact aerobic exercise, snowshoeing is a great way to stay social while also social-distancing and enjoying the outdoors. It’s affordable, easy to learn, and can be done almost anywhere you get snow! 
Cross country skiing is also another great option if you don’t think snowshoeing is in the cards for you. 

Ice Skating

Whether it’s on a remote lake on private property, in an indoor rink, or in the middle of a city square, ice skating is a great way to get out with friends and family, move around, and stay active. If you’re not a fan of skating in circles you could try playing games like;
  • Freeze skate
  • Ice volleyball
  • Ice hockey
  • Tic Tac Toe
  • Ice dance party

Sledding

When was the last time you went sledding? It may seem like an activity only for kids, but sledding is fun, affordable, and a great way to get outside and get active (walking up a hill a few times will definitely get your heart pumping). Most cities have community hills you can visit but you can also just head out into nature and look for a nice big hill on your own. Sledding is a great way to enjoy the winter and feel like a kid again for a few hours. 

Play in the Snow

Forget sledding, when was the last time you went outside and just played in the snow? That’s it, just played. No purpose, no destination, no plan, just some rolling around, snowball fights, fort building, and snow-angel making. If you have kids, join them the next time they go out to play. If you don’t have kids, oh well. Just give it a try. If you’ve been cooped up all day the cool will feel refreshing and if it’s sunny you can get some Vitamin D. 
The benefits of being outside don’t have to become out of reach when it gets cold. But when you head out, don’t forget to stay warm. Here are some essentials for warm, winter fun. 

Stay Warm and Safe While Enjoying the Winter

Stay Visible

Whether you’re out playing, running, gliding or sliding, you need to stay visible if you’ll be out past dark. Make sure you’re wearing reflective clothing or that you’ve attached a light to your clothes (like this attachable strobe light), or shoes (if you run, try this shoe light). Visibility is especially important if you’re running on a road or sledding or skating near one. 

Stay Warm

Winter weather can change on a dime and if the sun is out it can be hard to tell if you’re getting too cold to stay safe. The best way to stay safely warm is to start at the base. 
A warm base layer made of wool (not cotton) will keep you warm from the inside out. Smart wool will move sweat away from the body and keep you dry.  
A wool sock will keep your feet warm and Merino Smart Wool keeps feet dry, and comfortable. 
Don’t forget your hat and gloves! While the old saying that we lose a ton of heat through our heads is false, it’s still important to keep as much heat in our bodies as possible when we’re out in the cold, which means covering our heads just as we would any other part of our body. So, your mom was right, don’t forget your hat. It’s also important to keep your hands warm (they’re farther from your heart and can lose circulation easily) so make sure to find a glove that will stay in place and keep your fingers warm no matter the activity. 

Stay Supported

Adding an insole to your winter boots can keep your feet supported and pain free during all your winter activities.  A 3/4 size is perfect for boots with an added warmth liner (you don’t want to pull these out!). And for those stylish, cute boots, try an Orange Light
 
Whether you’re running, showshoeing, or running up and down a hill, a supportive insole can keep your whole body safe so you can keep enjoying the winter whether you’re moving or snuggled up watching a movie.

Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. If you experience persistent pain, consult your healthcare provider.


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