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8 Tips for Walking in Winter

Friday, October 15, 2021 1:00 PM

Chicago winters can feel long and cause us to get stir crazy. To beat cabin fever, we may want to take some of our exercises outside. The fresh air can help rejuvenate us after being cozy inside and the small but mighty Vitamin D can boost happiness. 

Walking in the Winter

If you’re not used to walking outside in winter, Stephen James Wielgus, M.D. at NorthShore's Orthopaedic and Spine Insitute shares safety tips to keep you warm and safe during your winter walks.

  1. Dress in layers. Multiple light layers can help keep your body insulated while allowing heat to circulate throughout your body without overheating. Your first layer should be moisture-wicking and a light fleece layer should keep you warm.
  2. Cover your hands and ears. Avoid frostbite by covering those vulnerable areas on your body.
  3. Look at your shoes. Make sure your shoe has more traction than found in a typical gym shoe. If it needs more traction, look into ice cleats that you can add to the bottom of any shoe. Don’t forget to avoid mesh fabric!
  4. Grab a scarf. If you have asthma the cold air could agitate your lungs. Wrap the scarf over your nose and mouth to prevent the icy sting in the air.
  5. Wear bright colors. Winters are known for dark mornings and dark afternoons. Wear bright clothing and reflective gear to ensure others see you walking.
  6. Pick a safe route. Areas of sidewalks that aren’t shoveled can cause barriers to your route. Look for other walking routes at the Chicago Botanic Garden for a safe and scenic route.
  7. Warm-up. Do a few jumping jacks or high knees to warm your body up before you go outside.
  8. Recover afterward. This will help protect your muscles from cramping, soreness, and dehydration.  

Remember to be safe! Sometimes it’s too cold to walk outside. If that the case, walk at an indoor track or mall, or look for another indoor exercise.