I walk outside.
OK, well almost every day. One of the biggest motivators for me to get out and walk is that we have dogs that need the exercise. Like clockwork, our border collie, Mindi, will chew something up if she goes about 26 hours without a walk.
My daily walks might not seem like big news, but when you consider that I live in Minnesota and most recently walked my dogs on a day that was -10 degrees (F) below zero, it sort of takes on a new light. And I walked fairly comfortably, at that.
Now I understand how if you live in a warm climate, you find this hard to imagine, but I swear it is true. So, how do I do it?
Bundle up. This might seem like a no-brainer, but how you bundle up can make a difference. Ever get brain freeze WITHOUT eating or drinking something cold? True story – it happened to me last week. I don’t have bangs and did not wear a hat. That cold wind on my forehead gave me brainfreeze! So, the first thing I put on is a winter outdoor headband. Even with my hair in a ponytail, my ears (and forehead) stay nice and toasty. It also serves to keep the hair out of my face when it is windy. Other key items for me are a winter coat, scarf, mittens and long underwear under my pants. My feet don’t seem to get cold, so I just wear normal athletic socks and tennis shoes. My coat has a huge collar, so I pop that up to help block the wind when needed.
Yaktrax. I swear by this amazing product. Yaktrax fit over your shoes and grip to anything – even icy roads. If the snow pack is fresh, I don’t really need them, but when it melts and re-freezes, the sides of the road are treacherous. Yaktrax keep my from falling and getting hurt. I am 41, people – Falling is no longer funny. It involves ice packs, a chiropractor and some serious downtime. I can walk without worrying or looking like an 89-year-old lady as long as I have them on. I don’t know all that much about actual yaks, but I am going to guess they have a good grip. By the way, yaktrax are not all that comfortable to walk in if there is not something for them to dig into, so save it for walks that are nearly 100% covered in ice or snow.
Skip the tunes. I enjoy walking while listening to music, but really, by the time I bundle myself up and deal with two dogs, it is just too much to add in cords and an iPod. Instead, I enjoy the solitude of winter and the almost deafening crunch of my feet as I walk. When I walk in the dead of night (which around this time of year is about 7:00 pm), it is amazing how crisp and silent the world seems. It really is beautiful and it makes you forget about the insanity of walking two dogs when it is below zero.
Be reflective. In winter it is hard to walk when there is daylight, because there can be so little of it. If you will be walking in the dark, consider adding a safety reflective vest or reflective sash for you (and a vest for your dog).
So have I convinced you? Would you walk in below freezing weather?
Some fun facts from my past week of walking: Mascara freezes. Then it thaws when your scarf redirects your warm breath. Then it refreezes. Sometimes this happens while you are blinking. Then your husband laughs and shakes his head at you when you come in with frozen eye lashes. And he calls you a “hearty soul.” And you never quite ever get used to walking outside and feeling every single hair inside your nose freeze. It is the most bizarre feeling.
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kari /Salted Nuts says
Right back at ya girly!! Living in Northern Iowa, 6 miles from the land of 10k Lakes, so I know exactly what you’re talking about. Even down to the yaktrax!!! Can’t wait for the Spring thaw!!
Kari – awesome! When I walk, I will know there are at least a few others out there doing the same :-)
kari /Salted Nuts says
Oh and kinda of funny, I see on the side of your blog you’re advertising tickets to Cat on A Hot Tin Roof on Broadway (maybe via what I searched for?). Anyway, my niece is playing one of the child characters and we’re all very excited for her!
Wow – congrats! That is pretty cool.
Tina B says
I moved to FL about 18 months ago so I am currently experiencing my 2nd “winter” here. I lived in IL for over 40 years. I laugh when the Floridians call it cold at 60 degrees. Some last until 50 degrees. I tell them that it’s “brisk” at best. I know that in the north there are, as you said, very hearty people who know what true cold is and can function well in it. You go, girl! Keep it up!
It’s all relative, isn’t it?!
Molly Jo says
Yep me too! also because of my 2 fur children. I do not have quite the weather as you but in NW Ohio we get some below zero times too. Bundle in layers and GO! :)
Thank goodness for the dogs – I probably would not venture out without their sad faces begging me to go.
Skipping the tunes can be a safety issue, too–if you can’t hear an oncoming car, bicyclist, grizzly bear, etc., then you can’t protect yourself from it.
Good point! Especially the grizzly bears ;-)
Melissa T says
I love Yaktrax!!