6 Tips for Safe, Enjoyable Cold Weather Walks

In the late fall, it’s easy to rationalize that staying curled up under the covers makes more sense than braving the elements for a walk. But before you hit the “snooze” button, think about how invigorating and energizing walking can be at this time of year, when it’s chilly but not punishingly cold. Feeling inspired to get outside? Be sure to:

Layer for warmth. Shop for some exercise clothes that are made with special moisture-wicking fabrics to keep you cool and dry. Layering helps. First put on a light T shirt and then a long-sleeved shirt, and finally a sweatshirt and maybe a wind breaker.

Find an exercise buddy. It’s more fun when you can share your walk or hike with a friend, and from a safety standpoint, you’ll be more likely to be seen by passing motorists when there are two of you. Plus, you won’t skip your walk if you know someone is counting on you to meet up.

Be safety conscious. During the day, pay attention to the sun’s position. If the sunlight is behind you, oncoming drivers will need to squint to see you. Stay off busy streets, wear sunglasses so you can see where you’re going, and always walk facing the traffic. When it’s dark, wear light-colored clothing and a vest made of reflective material. You may also want to consider shopping for sneakers with silver reflective material.

Start with a warm up. When you’re outside and it’s chilly, your muscles and ligaments need a little extra time to get exercise-ready since they don’t stay as warm as your torso does. Even if you just walk around for about 5 minutes at a relaxed pace before you get down to business and step it up, it can be helpful.

Stay hydrated. You can still sweat even when it’s cold out, so be sure to take along a reusable water bottle. Before you set off on a vigorous walk, drink some water and keep sipping as needed so you won’t become dehydrated.

Pack a snack. In case you get hungry or tired along the way, tuck a healthy, energizing snack into your pocket. Good choices include a handful of nuts, a reduced-fat cheese stick, or (on Phase 2) a South Beach Diet 100-Calorie Snack or Protein Fit Cereal Bar.

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