When winter comes, you may be tempted to turn off the step counter on your device and just hunker down at home. But despite the freezing temperatures and blustery winds, there are lots of ways to keep up your walking habit that are safe and easy. Added bonus: Lots of our tips help you keep up with your outdoor workouts, which are good for your mood, your brain, and your body. Ready to lace up? Let’s go!
- Go on shorter, more frequent walks
When the weather is more extreme, long walks often just aren’t doable. Instead, trade your typical 45-minute walk for three 15-minute walks spread throughout the day. The overall step count will be the same, but the walks will be easier to tolerate.
- Get the right gear
Having the right clothing and shoes is crucial. Instead of throwing a big coat over your regular walking outfit, layer up: Add long underwear, a fleece pullover, a down vest, and then a jacket. If you live in a snowy area, make sure your winter walkers have good traction; trail running shoes could be worth the investment for winter walks. And make sure to keep your extremities warm with a hat (your head is the biggest source of heat loss), gloves, and a neck warmer.
- Think beyond the walk
Winter sports and activities can be a great way to get in your steps. Get out on the rink for some ice skating. Go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Get out the shovel and clear the snow from your sidewalk or driveway.
- Bring Fido along for inspiration
Need motivation to get out walking in the cold? Look no further than your dog! Snap on the leash and take short walks a few times a day. You’ll both feel better!
- Find a winter walking buddy
It’s always easier to get out and about if you’ve got a friend to go with you. You won’t even notice the cold if you’re spending your walking time socializing!
- Get in your steps at home with an online class
If you just can’t bear to go outside, find a dance, aerobics, or other cardio fitness class online. There are lots of free options these days and the steps really add up!
- Find a new best friend: your treadmill!
There’s no better way to get in those steps than on your home treadmill. And it’s even easier if you do something else while you’re walking: Watch your favorite TV show, listen to a podcast or audiobook, read a magazine. The time will fly by!
- Go shopping
Hop in the car and head to your favorite mall or department store and start walking! No one has to know you’re just window-shopping. And you may even find some good winter workout gear while you’re there.
- Clean your house
Get out your vacuum and other cleaning supplies and do a deep clean of a room — or the whole house! An hour of good cleaning can rack up a surprising amount of steps. And just think of how happy you’ll be to relax afterward in your sparkling living room.