Winter means shorter days and usually more time spent indoors. But the winter blues can be lessened with regular activity. Here are our favourite tips for how to enjoy walking and running during the winter.
Check the weather forecast to ensure you are dressed appropriately. Keeping your hands warm with gloves or mittens will keep your hands out of your pockets allowing them to help you balance or grab onto something for support if needed.
Plan your route to include trails or sidewalks that are most likely to be clear of snow and ice. Kitchener-Waterloo has some great trails like the Iron Horse Trail that is maintained by the city. This is a better option than risking icy sidewalks. Watch for changing surfaces, remember that bridges become icy much easier and faster than sidewalks or trails. Keep an eye out for black ice.
Ensure your shoes are equipped to handle the elements. Boots are great for keeping your feet warm and dry but they can be clunky and do not often have a forefoot rocker. If you find that your feet or legs are becoming fatigued you can opt for warm shoes and runners when the weather permits. Using a trail runner can be beneficial as it provides better traction than road runners.
When the ground is very icy we recommend ice grips as they can be added to any shoe or boot. Walking poles are also a great way to keep your balance and keep your upper body active.
Being visible becomes more important as the days become shorter. Using reflective clothing or a fluorescent bib helps cars see you. You can also opt for a USB bike light. These are a great option for dogs as they are durable, rechargeable and can be attached to their harness or collar.
Falls happen. If you start to fall, try to relax as much as possible and avoid putting your arms out. It is very common to break your wrist, elbow, arm and shoulder by falling on an outstretched hand (FOOSH). If you do fall, take a moment to feel your body and get back up slowly. Ask for help if others are around or crawl to a more secure ground or something you can use to regain your balance.
Winter can be beautiful if you are prepared. It doesn’t last forever, it just feels like it.