A Winter Walkingland
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice walk.
Don’t let winter keep you from getting exercise and fresh air. By Beth D’Addono
Chase away the winter and indoor meeting blues with a brisk walk. “Besides the cardiovascular benefits, walking sends oxygen to your brain, which can spark new ideas and give you an energy boost,” says social psychologist Susan Newman (http://www.susannewmanphd.com/wordpress/).
Dressing the Part
But to weather the chill properly and avoid hypothermia, which happens when the body’s core temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, dressing the part is essential, says David Gallahue, a professor in the kinesiology department at Indiana University (http://www.indiana.edu/). Adding and subtracting layers as the temperature fluctuates allows you to regulate your body temperature and trap warmth next to the body. In temperatures around the freezing mark and below, two layers of moisture-wicking polypropylene, followed by a third layer of fleece and a waterproof outer layer, are recommended. “Add a hat made of wicking fabric and mittens, which are better than gloves for keeping fingers warm,” adds Gallahue. You should avoid cotton because it retains moisture and actually draws heat out of the body.
The good news is that high-tech fabrics are lightweight and can be easily rolled and stuffed into corners of your luggage. “Free up your precious luggage space by wearing your bulkiest clothing when you fly,” ad-vises Katherine Tom, a former senior editor for Yahoo! Travel (http://travel.yahoo.com/).
Also think about appropriate footwear and headgear. Shoes should be insulated, with a good tread. And if you’re walking when it’s dark, you’ll need to wear reflecting tape on your shoes and clothes.
Frequent traveler Carolyn Fox, director of marketing and public relations for walking-tour company Country Walkers (http://www.countrywalkers.com), warns against sun- and windburn in windy cities. Assess the outside temperature and wind chill factor, and cover exposed skin with a protective cream or sunscreen and, if needed, a face mask. Be careful to keep ears, noses and exposed skin covered.
Inside Out Health
And be sure to stay hydrated, she says, preferably with warm fluids, the better to maintain body heat.
Once you’re suited up, it’s time to have fun, says Fox. “Walking in winter is a great way to enjoy the city’s architecture, which is only enhanced by bare tree branches silhouetted against a winter-blue sky.”
Walking is also the ideal way to combat the fatigue that comes from sitting in overheated meeting rooms all day, adds Newman, author of The Book of NO: 250 Ways to Say It—and Mean It and Stop People-Pleasing Forever. “Whatever you’re doing inside can wait a bit,” she says. “It’s important to take time for yourself, no matter what the weather.”
Author Bio: Beth D’Addono walks in all kinds of weather when she’s on the road and at home in Belmont Hills, Pennsylvania.