Walking in cold weather conditions is great for losing weight and can enhance your health. You’re simply using more energy when the weather is rough.
The American Journal of Human Biology claims a winter walk can burn as much as 34% more calories walking in harsher conditions such as wind and snow than when the weather is milder.
Having said that, when you’re exercising in cold weather, the risk of damaging your health is also greater. For example, prolonged exposure to cold wind will cause thermoregulatory fatigue—a loss of body heat. The risk of hypothermia is increased.
Layered clothing is key to winter walking. More precisely, wearing the right materials in the right place. The goal is to wrap up warm whilst preventing an onslaught of perspiration.
3-Way Layering System for Winter Walking
Choosing what to wear for winter walking can be a tough decision. It will inevitably be cold when you first hit the road, but once you get moving your body heat will warm you up and you’ll probably start to sweat – which is not good in chilly conditions.
It’s recommended to dress for temperatures around 10 degrees higher than the thermometer reading. The most sensible approach to clothing for winter walking is a 3-layer system consisting of a bottom layer, middle layer and outer layer:
Bottom layer: ideally a light synthetic fabric or polypropylene should be closest to your skin. Moisture-wicking materials work best because they avoid sweat clinging to your body and causing a chill.
Middle layer: should be an undulating fabric such as a fleece jacket or snug sweatshirt. The best materials are Polartec or a wool blend that provides warms while wicking away moisture. Seamless garments also avoid inner seams from irritating your skin.
Top layer: is your protective layer so the material should be wind-resistant and waterproof. Winter walking jackets should ideally keep you warm and dry but also have a breathable design – so look for styles with vents. If it’s really cold, and wet, also wear waterproof bottoms over breathable tracksuit bottoms.
A hat are gloves are a given. If the weather is not too harsh you can always unzip the outer clothing but don’t remove your woolies or fleece.
Winter Walking in Slippery Conditions
Low temperatures can cause paths to frost and ice over. And slippery surfaces are not always noticeable to the naked eye. Although some falls cannot be avoided, you can reduce the risk of causing a nasty injury by losing your footing.
- Wear strong walking shoes with a good grip
- Walk at a steady pace. Winter walking is not a time of year for trying to beat your personal best. Adapt your walking routine to match the conditions.
- If you’re walking in an isolated area where there are not many passersby, make sure you have a means of attracting help if you fall and injure yourself. If you’ve already downloaded the sweatcoin app to take advantage of our rewards system, you should have your smartphone with you anyway.
There’s no reason why a little pinch of cold or a stiff wind should stop you from ditching your walking exercise over the winter months. And with the sweat con app, you can add more SWCs to your total and earn amazing discounts on hundreds of merchandise.