Okay, you’ve decided where to winter walk … a mall, an office building, your apartment or condo complex, outside … now it’s important to prepare. What should you wear?
Whether you walk inside or outside, you have some decisions to make. Here are some things to consider:
Indoor walking – You’ll need warm outwear to get you to your destination and then comfortable indoor wear. You can walk in your boots but for comfort and better foot support take your favorite walking shoes. Wear layers so you can adjust your comfort level and minimize what you have to carry. Bring one of those foldable shopping bags to tuck your gear in.
Outdoor walking – Warm, comfortable walking boots are a must, especially with snow. If you have warm insoles, tuck those snugly inside. The type of sock you wear is up to you., whether it’s your only or first layer.
Footwear – This is probably the most important consideration. Warm, water-proof boots with a good tread is important for walking on snow, ice or slush covered sidewalks. Carry your comfortable walking shoes if you’re heading indoors.
Insoles – I started wearing cushioning insoles inside my shoes and boots several years ago and now can’t function without them. Not only do they add comfort and support but they protect your feet. Walking is not as bad as running but your feet still take a pounding. Protect them against calluses and worse.
Socks – Choose a pair, or two, for comfort and style. Something breathable like cotton will help you stay dry and comfortable. Or try a pair made from one of the new wicking materials. Wool socks add warmth and cushioning but bulkiness too. Make sure your feet still fit comfortably in your shoes or boots. If circulation is restricted, your toes will get cold fast. And don’t be afraid to add some colour. Check out London’s trend-setting Cole & Porter for the latest sock fashions.
Mitts or Gloves? – It’s up to you. On cold days I find mitts much warmer. Your fingers keep each other warm. On especially cold days, consider a thin pair of cotton or wool gloves inside your mitts.
Outerwear – You can wear a regular coat but you may want to consider a fleece with a protective jacket shell over top. I always try to avoid wearing cotton or wool type jackets on in rain and snow … it tends to sticks and penetrate through the material making everything colder, heavier and miserable. Stay happy!
Water – Stay hydrated. The prevalent rule of thumb is that if you’re going to be walking 30 minutes or longer to bring some water. Either a small bottle or get to know where to find water fountains. There are many water bottle styles that can keep your hands free.
Accessories – So many to consider:
• Pocket hand-warmers – If your hands and toes tend to get cold quickly and stay cold, consider purchasing a packet or two. They’re relatively inexpensive at the dollar store and work well.
• Walking stick – It can help you balance and give you some extra grip on slippery terrain.
• Crampons – Attach these to the soles of your boots or shoes for extra traction on snow and ice. Unfortunately, the pair I tried kept slipping off. You might want to investigate further for extra safety though.
• Pedometer – There’s nothing more motivating than achieving a distance goal. Go for the 10,000 steps goal or beat your previous distance. Check out Participaction’s Pedometer Walking Program.
• MP3 player – If you like music or talk while you walk, strap on or pocket your MP3 player or plug earplugs into a smartphone.
• Technology – New wearable technology like Kitchener Waterloo’s Pebble, which recently launched Pebble Health, FitBit or Apple Watch provide a plethora of monitoring and entertainment all in one handy little device. Achieve 10,000 steps on a Fitbit and it will make you tingle.
• Fanny Pack – Perhaps not the most fashionable accessory but it’s practical. A great place for keys, tissue, pocket change, and whatever else you think you’ll need to enjoy your walk.
Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas or share a winter walking experience. Just click on Comments in the bubble or menu.
Until next time. Walk Your World.