What’s an avid walker to do when it’s too wet and cold outside to bear the thought of leaving the house? My first thought is to just suck it up since I live in the beautiful Bay Area and what we consider “cold” isn’t even close to what other parts of the country experience during the winter months. But, it's all relative right? While we may be weather spoiled in
Adding to my weather blues is the fact that since January I have been working from home and also started wearing a Fitbit. Did I mention 10,000 steps? I can hear my fellow Fitbit users sighing - you know what I’m talking about! Once you put it on, it slowly starts to take over as every step counts and you will become acutely aware of how active or inactive you are. I am going to talk more about the Fitbit in a separate post but I will say I have proudly joined the ranks of millions of Fitbit wearers around the world and I absolutely love it! Beware... it is addicting!
They say that the optimum step goal daily is 10,000 (again more on this in another post) which can be quite a struggle given the scenario above, i.e., rainy cold weather and working at home. Walking 10,000 steps is roughly the equivalent of walking 5 miles so you can imagine how difficult that could be if you aren’t leaving the house.
Regardless of where you work, you can find ways to get your steps in and walk throughout the day. Whatever your step goal, don’t let the winter blues get you down – all you need is a little creativity and determination to get your walking in.
Here are 6 tips to get you started:
I walk at a pretty fast clip and warm up quickly so it is important for me to wear a jacket that isn't bulky or feel too warm. I do not want to have to carry it. Keeping my hands warm is important so pockets, thin gloves or hand warmers are necessary, especially if you are carrying a water bottle. If it is windy, I have a thicker warm head band (something you would use skiing) that works perfectly and covers my ears. I don’t look that great in beanies but there are a ton of cute ones that will do the job for those that do.
Handwarmers & Foot Warmers : You can find these at REI (12 pack for $11.50) or a Variety Pack which includes body, toe and hand warmers at Target for $12..99. You can also buy a 10 pack for $8.99 at bedbathandbeyond or these cute mitten hand warmers that fit in your pocket for $9.99 (available in black & red).
Headbands – You can find a variety of headbands at Target, or any sports or active wear store such as Lululemon.
Thermals – Target has a lot of cute affordable options for thermal tops and bottoms. Athletic fabrics and comfortable styles.
Gloves – I like the soft knit gloves that have the fingers exposed – they have these at Old Navy for $9.00 and regular sweater knit gloves for $7.99.
Walk in the Rain
Sounds crazy I know, but have you noticed that often when it’s raining it isn’t as cold outside? It poured buckets during one of my Susan G. Komen 60 mile 3 day walks in San Diego several years ago. I have never been that wet in my life but will never forget it. Millions of soaking wet walkers in flimsy rain ponchos dedicated to a cause - it was a beautiful sight! One rainy day last week, my husband and I went for a walk to have a coffee shop meeting and it was actually refreshing and fun to walk in the rain. I have a waterproof lightweight jacket with a hood, zippered pockets on the outside and a few deeper pockets on the inside - just enough protection. I will tell you though that no matter what you are wearing, you will still get wet! But, it is just water! I keep my older Nike's around for days like that. Umbrellas of course are not an option. Always a good idea to wear something reflective so you can be seen by cars.
Waterproof jacket at Macy’s - Columbia Switchback II Omni-Shield™ Water-Repellent Jacket - Reg. $60.00 – on sale $39.99 - www.macys.com
A Home Project
Cleaning the garage – Who the heck wants to do that is probably what you are thinking. Well, if you have a garage project, cold, rainy days are the perfect time to work on it. This has been an ongoing project for me and I am able to easily add 3-5,000 steps with a few hours of work. Weekends of course are much easier to spend a few consecutive hours on a project like that but you can incorporate some time during weekdays by getting up early, taking breaks or at the end of the day. I put on Pandora and am on my feet the whole time. On weekdays I get up early, or do small bursts of cleaning or projects on breaks throughout my day.
Clean the house – do you have closets that need cleaning? Or some other project that requires you to be up and about? On days I know I will be indoors I try to start my day with some daily chores that require me to go from room to room. If you work in an office and don't have the time for projects Monday through Friday, think about ways to incorporate more steps in your day.
1. Wake up earlier and take a morning walk
2. Cook dinner when you get home
3. Go for a walk with a friend after work
4. Run some errands after work or at lunch
5. Take the stairs whenever possible
The Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo which is fairly small compared to others, provided me an outlet for an indoor walk mid week with my daughter, as well as a change of scenery. From Forever 21 on the bottom level to the other end of the mall, then back to Forever 21 on the top level was approx. .26 miles. This was straight from point A to point B with no retail stops in between. We then did the loop again of course stopping along the way. Don’t have a mall close by… any retail therapy will do. Target, Costco and Home Depot are large stores and great places to meander. Of course if it isn't raining there a lots of outdoor mall options to do some retail therapy or downtown areas.
Do your friends wear Fitbits? If so, connect with them immediately! It will add the accountability element while also bringing out your competitive spirit. A few pats on the back along the way doesn't hurt either as you can earn badges for hitting certain milestones. Also, set your goals and use the other Fitbit tools available to you. You can set alarms, track different activities, etc. I also put on my Fitbit first thing in the morning so every step counts!
Indoor Tracks or Treadmill
If you have a gym membership this is a no brainer. I prefer to walk outside and workout at home, however when I travel I do love to use the treadmill in the fitness center. I like the solitude and use the time to decompress, listen to music or watch the news. I actually find it therapeutic. You can set your time/distance goals, pace, incline, and just go. Perhaps your fitness center has an indoor track?
Hope this list gave you some ideas and encouragement. Of course, the goal is to get moving every day and not be limited by the weather or our own beliefs. My biggest tip would be the minute those gray skies clear, take advantage of your window of opportunity to get outside!