Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean you have an excuse to leave your fitness in hibernation. Walking is one of the healthiest forms of exercise, and going for a 30 minute walk every day can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, reduce your blood pressure and even brighten your outlook on life. But when there’s a gale howling, rain scurrying down the window panes and icy ground to navigate, you’ll need the right gear.
Walking clothes needn’t be unfashionable, and often, you can look, and feel, great, just by layering up in the right way. Your first layer should keep you dry, so choose a material that will wick sweat away from your body like silk. Then, you’ll need a smart insulating layer like wool or fleece to keep you cozy. Finally, your outer shell, which you should ensure is water and windproof for the best possible protection against those pesky elements. Choose bright colors if you're walking anywhere with traffic - you'll want to be visible for safety reasons. Trousers should also be made from wicking material; polyester is best, and avoid cotton and jeans as they will trap moisture and make you cold!
Boot out the blisters
You don’t necessarily have to go through the expense and effort of buying a new pair of walking boots, you may well have something already that will do a good job – your trainers. A good pair of cross or trail running shoes might be the perfect fit for hitting the trail, but remember, they must fit well, and the soles should be thick enough to protect you from discomfort when the road gets rough. However, if things get wet, you might want to consider a more traditional walking shoe with a breathable lining to avoid soggy soles!
When it’s cold outside, the fastest way you can lose your warmth is through your head, so do be sure to keep it warm with a hat. If your head gets too hot with a full hat, wear an earband to stop Jack Frost from nipping at your lobes. Protect your neck with a warm scarf, and avoid anything made of itchy wool, or you’ll become uncomfortable from the get-go. Before you throw on that pair of windproof mittens, be sure to slick on a layer of protection from UV exposure, and a generous slick of lip balm to keep your lips from being chapped.
Now you should be ready, just remember to queue up your favorite tunes, audiobook or podcast for added fun!
Image by Richard Barrett-Small, used under the Creative Commons license.