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Embracing the Chill

Jan/21/2024 / by jordana-weiss

A Guide to Thriving Outdoors in Winter

South Asian woman in heavy winter jacket petting a cat outdoors surrounded by snow
Photo via Shutterstock

As the days get shorter and the temperatures dip, it’s tempting to give up on our outdoor time in favor of cozier, warmer pursuits like watching television on the couch or reading in front of the fire. However, exercise and spending time outdoors can have a hugely positive impact not only on our energy levels but also on our mood. While most people naturally sleep more, sit for longer, and exercise for less time in the winter, it’s important to continue prioritizing physical activity – especially outdoors.

Spending time outside in the winter requires a thoughtful approach. A traditional Norwegian saying sums it up pretty well: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” This adage applies to more than just clothing. In our opinion, no weather is so bad that you can’t enjoy it without a bit of preparation. Here are some of our tips for embracing the cold this winter.

Understand Layering For Winter

Too many people think a simple coat will protect them from the fiercest winter squalls. Unfortunately, buying the bulkiest coat and throwing it on over whatever you happen to be wearing won’t keep you warm for long. Focus on this sensible approach to layering:

A base layer that wicks sweat away from your skin

A middle insulating layer that helps conserve body heat

An outer layer that protects against wind and rain  

Cover Every Area

If you want to stay outside for more than a few minutes, you must ensure every area is covered. Focus on areas like your head, neck, hands, and feet, which are most sensitive to heat loss. For winter outfits that don’t sacrifice style for warmth, invest in staples like tall boots, cashmere scarves, and silk or satin-lined hats.

Turn Everyday Tasks Into Physical Activity

Simple tasks can feel daunting in the winter, but really, this is just another opportunity for exercise. Shoveling snow, building a snowman, or even having a friendly snowball fight can elevate your heart rate and engage various muscle groups. These activities keep you active and infuse a sense of playfulness into the season.

Explore Winter Hiking Trails

To keep your outdoor routine exciting, connect with the tranquil beauty of nature. In the winter, blankets of snow and frost can transform a trail you’ve walked a hundred times into a new experience. The crisp air and snow-covered scenery provide a refreshing backdrop for a brisk walk or hike. Not only does winter hiking provide cardiovascular benefits, but it also contributes to mental well-being.

Connect With A Friend

The next time you have difficulty motivating yourself to get outdoors, ask a friend to come with you. The accountability of a walking partner will help encourage you to get out and stay out for longer. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for a fun and low-pressure social activity.

Adjust Your Schedule

While working nine to five may be a barrier for some, we should all be trying to get as much sunlight as possible during the more limited daytime of the winter months. For some, this might mean going out for your daily walk at lunchtime or taking care of your snow shoveling early in the morning before work.

Every time you can get yourself moving outdoors in the winter, your body will thank you! We hope these tips will help ensure a safe, happy, and healthy winter season.

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