5 Tips for Winter Walking

Get the scoop on how to stay active and warm despite cold weather.

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By Ana Lopez

Trying to get in shape? You can walk yourself to better health – and you don’t have to do it alone.  A recent study suggests that regular group walking outdoors can lower risk of serious conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, stroke and even depression. Walking with a group can make fitness fun and social, boosting both your physical and emotional health. Don’t wait for hotter weather to give group walking a go. Check out this plan to stay active and warm during cold weather group walks.

Start With One or More Buddies

2 / 5 Start With One or More Buddies

Your first step should be to find a group or buddy who is willing to commit to regular walking. In his new book, This is YOUR Do-Over, Michael Roizen, MD, explains how you can find that perfect health buddy to keep you motivated. Whether it’s a co-worker, close friend or family member, knowing you have someone counting on you can help you brave the cold and make walking a year-round habit. 

How to find a local walking club

Don’t Skip a Scarf

3 / 5 Don’t Skip a Scarf

Scarves aren’t just for covering your neck – they can protect your lungs and help you avoid picking up a bug. Cold and flu viruses love cold weather, so placing a scarf over your nose and mouth can help keep in moisture to warm the air before you inhale. Another plus: because your head and face are 5 times as sensitive to cold as other body parts, a scarf can retain heat to keep you warmer longer. 

Have a Plan B

4 / 5 Have a Plan B

Research shows that walking outside is best for the combination of physical and mental benefits — especially mental. Dr. Roizen claims that a scenic walk can work as a brain booster to rev up memory and focus. But when it’s too cold, wet, icy or windy to walk with your buddy or group outside, have a backup plan. Here are a few ways you can walk indoors: shopping malls, treadmills and indoor tracks. But figure out where to go before bad weather strikes to stay motivated.

Grab Your Favorite Shades

5 / 5 Grab Your Favorite Shades

Too much fun in the sun can harm your eyes in the summer and it can do just as much damage to your peepers in the winter. An excess of reflected sunlight over time may lead to vision loss and other degenerative eye conditions, such as glaucoma. But protecting your eyes is easy: next time you’re headed out the door for your daily dose of group walking, remember your sunglasses.

Find out how to pick the right pair of sunglasses