One of my favorite ways to stay in shape is by taking a long walk around the neighborhood each afternoon before dinner. I love being able to relax outside, enjoy nature and get some fresh air while working off a few extra calories I may or may not have gotten from that latte I drank. While walking during the warmer months is easy and enjoyable, there are a few challenges that walking in the winter present.

10 Helpful Tips for Walking in the Winter

If you live where it gets cold and snows during the winter, you’ll know that heading out for an afternoon walk isn’t quite as simple as during the summer. Not only are the temperatures lower, but you also have to deal with the very real possibility of slipping and falling while out on a stroll. These tips for walking in the winter will make things just a bit easier:

  1. When it’s cold, it’s even more important for your muscles to warm up before you begin your walk. Allow yourself at least 10 minutes of gentle stretching and moving to warm up before you head outside.
  2. Dress warmly for the colder temperatures. Be sure that you’re dressed properly and protected from the wetness by wearing a hat, gloves, scarf, winter jacket and warm boots. If you are walking through snow, consider wearing waterproof boots to keep your feet warm and dry. Adding a pair of warm wool socks is always a good idea when it’s cold.
  3. Don’t forget traction in the ice and snow. If the area you’ll be walking through is covered with ice and snow, consider wearing ice grips that attach to your boots. These will help prevent dangerous falls on slippery surfaces.
  4. Stay hydrated by bringing along a water bottle. You may not think so, but it’s just as important to stay hydrated in the winter as it is in the summer. You can bring warm or room temperature water instead of cold water if you prefer.
  5. Wear a scarf or mask over your mouth. To avoid breathing freezing air directly, wrap a scarf over the bottom part of your face or wear a mask. You’ll be able to breathe just fine, but the shock of the cold air will be reduced.
  6. Know your limits. If the temperature is below -20F (with the windchill) be sure to walk inside instead of outside. Risking frostbite to get your afternoon walk is not a good choice.
  7. Start slowly. If you’re not used to walking in the winter, start slowly. Aim for a fifteen-minute walk before heading back inside. Next time you can increase the time by small increments until you’re used to the cold weather.
  8. Choose a safe location. If visibility is reduced or road conditions are hazardous, consider walking in a parking lot or park that’s been cleared of snow. You’ll be out of the way of cars, and the risk of an accident will be less.
  9. Protect your eyes. Remember that sunlight shining on white snow can create quite a glare. Don’t forget to protect your eyes with a pair of sunglasses while you’re out.
  10. Remember the essentials. Take along a small pack that contains lip balm, sunscreen (for your face), and an energy bar just in case. It’s best to be too prepared than not prepared enough.
  1. Remember the essentials. Take along a small pack that contains lip balm, sunscreen (for your face), and an energy bar just in case. It’s best to be too prepared than not prepared enough.

With these tips for walking the winter, there is nothing to stop you from getting outside!