Walking Outdoors During Winter

2022/02/01 Home Education and advice

Walking Outdoors During Winter

By Lisa Zhu

Staying active during the cold months can be a challenge for many people. Going out for a brisk walk is simple and pleasant in the summer, but unpleasant and unmotivating in the winter. Wouldn’t you agree?

Walking around the neighborhood, even during this ongoing pandemic, is a great way to get regular physical activity. Preparation is all you need to achieve your goal of being physically active this winter. With the arrival of winter and colder temperatures, it is important to be well prepared for outdoor walking. Here are some suggestions to consider before your next outing.

How to prepare before the walk?

  • Warm up for 10 minutes inside the house before your walk. A warm-up increases blood circulation and body temperature. This helps prepare the body for physical activity. Exercises such as marching on the spot, skipping rope, doing lunges, and performing dynamic stretching are great examples of warm-up exercises.
  • Plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to plan your route. Don’t assume a clear path for walking will be available.

Walking winter

What should you wear?

What to wear on your feet:

  • If there is no ice and the sidewalks are clear, you can wear walking shoes or running shoes that have a good arch support for the foot.
  • If there is ice or snow, you should take out your winter boots. Make sure your boots are safe and rubberised to prevent slipping on snow and ice. If the sidewalks are icy, consider attaching spikes or studs to the soles of your boots. A good strategy for walking in icy conditions is to go out during the day around noon or early afternoon because the slightly higher temperature can melt some of the ice on the sidewalk. Pay attention to the smaller alleys that aren’t cleared of snow and ice, and paths that run along parks. Slush can collect on the sidewalk and can also turn into ice and be dangerous.
  • Socks are important not only for keeping your feet warm, but also for balance. Some socks are woven tighter in the arch of the foot to slightly increase the stability of the foot.

How to dress:

  • It is normal to feel warmer while doing physical activity. It is therefore necessary to dress in several layers during the walk. For example: a light coat, a vest, and a long sleeve sweater would be appropriate. Have a backpack with you to store the layers you take off during your walk so that you don’t have to hold them in your hands. When removing layers, be sure to keep your arms and legs covered so that you don’t get frostbite.

How to walks safely on snow and ice?

Here are some helpful tips to walk safely while outdoors:

  • Lean forward slightly and walk with your center of gravity directly over your feet as much as possible.
  • Take small steps or shuffle your feet for more stability.
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets.
  • Look ahead when walking. A sidewalk completely covered in ice may require traveling along its grass edge for traction.
  • Do not text or read while walking.

Walking winter

What if you fall?

There is a correct way to fall when you are prepared. If you slip, try to fall with your thigh, hip, and shoulder contacting the ground. Avoid having your arms stretched out in front of you to absorb the impact. This common way of falling forward may result in serious injuries such as a sprained or broken wrist and a shoulder sprain or dislocation. Finally, try to curl up in a ball by rounding your back and bringing your head forward to avoid hitting your head on the ground.

There you have it! Great tips for making walking outdoors during winter a safe and enjoyable winter activity. Now you are ready to hit the sidewalks and parks this winter for regular, healthy walks.

If you have further questions about these tips, you may speak to a therapist who will help guide you based on your medical history and your needs.

If you have further questions regarding how to dress appropriately for winter activities, click on this link to read our article on this subject.

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