With temperatures in the mid to upper 20’s this week in the Philadelphia area, there is no question that winter has arrived. However, you don’t have to let the cold weather deter you from walking. Bundle up and get back out there! Here are some winter walking tips to make your winter walks as comfortable as possible.
1. Layers, layers, layers! It may seem obvious, but the best way to keep yourself warm is by wearing appropriate clothing. Wear a base layer made of a moisture wicking fabric (not cotton), an insulating layer such as a wool sweater, and a winter jacket or coat; preferably, one that is wind- and water-resistant. You may need to wear more than one layer of pants as well. Try wearing long underwear, running pants, or tights underneath your other pants when it is below freezing.
2. Keep your toes cozy! Wool socks provide the best insulation for your feet. If it’s really cold, you can wear another pair of socks underneath as a liner.
3. Wear appropriate shoes. For walking in general, it’s good to wear a comfortable pair of shoes with good traction. This is even more important in the winter, when ice may be present on the ground. Take extra care when walking to make sure you don’t slip.
4. Cover your head and neck. Wear a warm hat, earband, or earmuffs to keep your head warm. A scarf is a good idea to protect your neck, and you can always take it off if you start to warm up.
5. Keep your hands covered too! Your extremities will be the first parts of your body to feel cold. Gloves or mittens do the trick to keep your hands warm while you walk.
6. Take care of your skin! Winter weather is especially harsh for your skin because of the wind. Use a moisturizer on your face (preferably one with sunscreen) and lip balm to protect your skin against the cold.
7. Plan your route with the cold in mind. Pick a route with shelter so you can take a break and warm up if you need to. If you can, try to walk into the wind on the first leg of your journey so the wind will be at your back when you return.
8. Hydrate! Your body needs water, especially when you are active. Bring a water bottle with you when you are walking. Also, drinking tea after your walk is a great way warm up as well as stay hydrated.