Get hooked on nature: Ben Klasky at TEDxRainier
How to Spend More Time Outside During Winter
Cold winter weather does not have to be an impediment to enjoying the outdoors. You can adjust some of your normal outdoor activities for the winter months. In addition, there are a number of outdoor activities, such as ice fishing, skiing, or ice-skating, that are unique to the wintertime. However, in order to enjoy any of these activities, it is important that you get the appropriate winter weather gear in order to stay warm and safe.
Adjusting Your Usual Routines
Exercise outdoors.Although cold weather may push some of your workouts indoors, you can still exercise outdoors during much of the winter. For example, with the appropriate clothing, you can continue running outside during the coldest months of the year.With the appropriate gear and an eye on the weather, a winter wonderland can be a great place for exercising.
- With warm clothing, you can also bicycle in the winter months. However, you need to watch for ice on roads and trails. It may be a good idea to walk a path before you bike on it to make sure that it is free of ice.
- Be on the lookout for ice that can lead to an accident and injury.
Go for walks.The winter months are a great time to go for walks. If you live somewhere that receives snowfall, winter walks can offer scenic beauty. Moreover, the fresh winter air can be refreshing and rejuvenating.With a warm coat, a thick cap, and a good pair of boots, you can continue to take long walks in the wintertime.
- Make sure that you dress appropriately and listen to the local weather. If it is dangerously cold outside or there is severe winter weather, stay inside.
- Depending on where you live and your local weather, you may be able to go hiking in the winter months. However, many state and national parks are closed in the winter. Also, inclement weather may make some trails unsafe or inaccessible. Be sure to check with local parks officials before hiking.
- If you want to go for walks off the beaten path, you might consider snowshoeing. This will allow you to go for longer hikes on surfaces that have not been shoveled or cleared of snow.
Take your dog to the park.If you own a dog, visiting your local park is a great opportunity to get outside during the winter. You can walk your dog or play games like fetch. Plus, having a playful romp with your dog outside will keep both of you warm, too! If you bundle up properly, you and your dog can both enjoy the great outdoors during the winter.
- Most dogs’ coats offer them natural protection against the cold. However, if your dog has a light coat, you can buy your pet a winter vest and boots to keep them warm.
- If the weather is extremely cold, limit your dog’s time outside.
Take care of outdoor chores.The winter months offer a number of unique outdoor chores that you may need to accomplish. In the late fall or early winter, you will likely need to get out and rake up the leaves that have fallen in your yard. If you live somewhere that gets lots of snow, you may need to get outside and shovel the snow on your driveway and sidewalk.
Participating in Outdoor Winter Activities
Try winter camping.Although a number of state and national parks are closed to campers during the winter months, in many places you can still camp in the winter months. In order to winter camp, you will need to get tents, sleeping bags, and clothing that are intended for winter temperatures. You should also pack stove equipment because good firewood is often hard to find in the winter.
- Check with your local outdoor outfitter and the local parks service before you do any winter camping. You should also check the weather and local conditions before you start your excursion.
Learn to ski or snowboard.A common way that many people spend extra time outdoors in the winter is by either skiing or snowboarding. These activities will help you spend hours outdoors in the fresh winter air. However, in order to properly slide down the slopes, you will need to get the appropriate winter gear to keep your warm and safe.
- You can also cross-country if you have enough snow and flat enough terrain.
- Both sports are also rather expensive. Between the ski passes and the gear, you may end up paying a significant amount of money. Be sure to talk to a sales associate at your local sporting goods store to find the appropriate gear at a good price.
Try ice fishing.In certain locations, the winter months offer a unique opportunity to go fishing. This is a great opportunity to get outside and spend some time with others. Once you acquire a fishing license and the appropriate gear, you will be ready to get outside and catch some delicious fish.
Go ice skating.Once ponds and lakes are covered with a significant layer of ice, ice skating is a common outdoor winter activity in many locations. With a pair of ice skates, you can glide along the surface of the ice. Besides lakes and ponds, there are also outdoor ice rinks, which are great locations to play hockey or figure skate.
- Always check the thickness of the ice before you go out on it. Never skate if you do not know the thickness of the ice.
Play in the snow.If you live somewhere that gets a significant amount of snow, the winter offers some unique opportunities for outdoor play. You can slide down a snow-covered hill on a sled or tube. You can build a snow fort or have a snowball fight. You can also make a snowman or create some snow angels. If you get snow, get outside and take advantage of the fun opportunity.
- Before you go play in the snow, make sure that you are wearing appropriate winter clothing. You should also check the weather to make sure that it is safe to play outside.
Getting the Right Cold Weather Gear
Find the right head covering.The ideal winter hat will keep your head warm while you are outdoors but, depending on the activity, prevent it from getting too hot. For most activities, a simple wool cap that covers your ears should suffice. If you are doing more strenuous activities, you might consider a winter headband that allows heat to escape from the top of your head while keeping your ears warm.
- Ear muffs are also a great choice if you want to keep your ears warm but prevent the rest of your head from overheating.
- If you want to keep your neck and face warm, you should consider a scarf. You can wrap it around your neck and pull it over your face if it gets too cold.
- Ultimately, you might want a number of winter caps. You might want to consider a thick cap for walking around in the snow and a light cap for running, snowshoeing, or doing other high-energy activities.
Get good gloves.Protecting your hands is essential to enjoying the outdoors during winter. Proper gloves will keep you from getting too cold or developing frostbite. If you are walking around or ice skating, you may want a thicker glove made from wool. For playing in the snow, skiing, or snowshoeing, you will want a thicker glove that is also waterproof. Depending on the activity, you may also want a glove that affords you some dexterity to use your phone or manipulate things with your fingers.
- Ultimately, you may want to have different gloves depending on the activity.
Purchase a warm coat.A warm winter coat is essential to enjoying the outdoors during winter. In general, you will want a thick insulated coat.However, if you are going to be more active, you may opt for lighter clothing that helps you stay warm but keeps you from overheating.In addition, layering can also help you stay warm by creating pockets of warm air and preventing moisture from seeping in.
- Consider investing in at least two winter coats, a heavier one for general use and a lighter coat for any strenuous outdoor activities.
- A down-filled puffer coat is great for staying warm. However, it is not a great option if you are going to be doing anything active because you can easily get overheated. Also, down absorbs moisture and loses much of its warmth if exposed to humidity.
- If you are going to be active outdoors, you might want to consider a ski coat that offers water-resistance and helps keep you cool.
Buy a warm pair of boots.Depending on the activity, there are a number of things to consider when looking for a good winter boot. Generally, you want a boot that is insulated and waterproof. If your feet get wet and cold, you will quickly cool down and you run the risk of hypothermia. If you are doing any snowshoeing or playing in the snow, you might want to consider a waterproof boot that gives you a little more flexibility.Finally, skiing, snowboarding, and skating all have their own footwear with special considerations.
- Be sure to talk with a sales representative when you buy any boots for skiing or snowboarding. They will help you get the appropriate boots.
Look for a good pair of socks.A good pair of socks helps keep your feet warm and dry. For brief excursions outdoors, wear a thicker sock that traps more warm air and keeps your foot insulated. If you are going to spend an extended period outdoors, you should wear two to three layers of socks to keep your feet warm and dry.
- When layering socks, you might want to start with a lightweight wicking sock, covered by a lightweight wool sock, with a medium wool sock on top. This combination will keep your feet warm while wicking away moisture.
Consider other important gear.Depending on the activity, you will need to consider other pieces of equipment or clothing. If you are skiing or snowboarding, you will need to find skis or a snowboard that are the right size. You will also need goggles to protect your eyes from ice and glare and a sturdy helmet to protect your head. If you are on the ice, you may want ice grabbers to attach to the bottoms of your boots. Make sure that you know what equipment you will need to perform the specific outdoor activity.
- A sales associate at a local sporting goods or outdoor store should be able to help you find the gear that will work best for your outdoor adventures.
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