Don't Let Winter Get You Down - How to Make the Most of the Cold
January is the season of “new” – we reset our calendars and often try to reset ourselves. Maybe this winter you made a resolution to get more active and get outside more, and are not staring at the bleak winter landscapes cursing your more optimistic December self.
Getting outdoors can feel daunting in the winter, especially if you live in climates where it snow, sleet, rain, or get generally overcast. The outdoors feel much more inviting during the summer months when the sun shines in abundance.
But have no fear! Mambe has some great ideas on how to get outside and be active this winter!
1. Plan Ahead – Dress Smartly
This may feel like old news. Your mom and dad would yell at you to “Put on a coat!” as you ran outdoors, and everyone knows to bundle up when the temperatures drop. But enjoying the outdoors requires a bit more planning than simply grabbing the nearest, bulkiest sweater. There is an art to layering that will make your time outside that much more fun!
Start with a solid base layer.
When picking your bottom layer, you want to avoid cotton. Cotton as a material holds moisture, so if you sweat at all, you will retain that moisture close to your body and actually end up colder! Merino wool or sweat-wicking materials are a great investment for base layers.
Get a waterproof outer shell.
One barrier to getting outside in the winter is the sheer cost of getting outside. Gear that is made to last is not always cheap, and for some this can be a daunting purchase to make. If you are looking to stock up on quality base layers, or even good coats for your young children, second-hand is always a great option! Thrift stores often have some gear during the fall season. But sites like Mercari and Poshmark have incredible, cheap options for top outdoor brands!
2. Embrace the Cold - But Reset Expectations
If you are someone who likes more extreme sports, winter may be easier for you. You can go skiing, snowshoeing, or sledding and have hours of active time outside. But if you are someone who enjoys a slower hike over speeding downhill, winter may feel like a drag to you. But a hike does not always have to be a trek up the closest mountain. In the winter, it is wise to reset your expectations on what activities qualify as “active.” If you are able to get out for a 20-minute walk somewhere in nature (uphill or flat), go ahead and call it a hike!
There can sometimes be this unspoken rule that unless you reach a peak or you’re outside for hours and burning calories it does not count. For some, this may be feasible, but for others, it can be a barrier to getting outside in the winter.
Feel free to reset your expectations and celebrate any moment outside. You don’t need to barrel down or hike up a mountain for it to “count.”
3. Fuel Up
When you get cold, your body needs to burn more calories to stay warm. In order to truly enjoy your time outside, it is important to give your body the proper fuel. If you are heading out in the morning, a bowl of warm oats, a banana, and a cup of coffee are great foods to get your metabolism moving and keep you warm. If you are hoping to get outside consistently, fill your diet with foods that are high in iron like red meats and leafy greens. Foods that require the body to work extra hard to process like sweet potatoes, legumes, and even spicy chili peppers are great to add to your winter meals!
If you are going to be outside for a long time, it is a good idea to bring some snacks! This can get tricky because your food may freeze while outside! If you want something easy like an energy bar, it is a good idea to cut them up into manageable pieces that you can snack on throughout the day. Packing yourself a sandwich that is high in protein and simple carbs is also smart to help you sustain yourself throughout the day.
Bonus Tip: Stay Hydrated
Hydration through the winter is essential. But sometimes drinking cold water can make the outdoors even more miserable. Investing in a thermos to put warm beverages in is a great idea. You can drink warm water with lemon in it to help you stay hydrated, or even decaffeinated tea! But be sure that you are drinking enough water as this helps keep your metabolism active – which will help keep you warm from the inside.
4. Have Fun!
One of the best things you can do is embrace the chill! Getting outside is great for your mental and physical health. But the winter months also have a unique beauty that you get to explore! One of the best ways to get outside is to reset your mental attitude about what winter outdoor activities bring. Instead of internally mumbling about getting outside, try to find something to get excited about – even if that’s just a bird on a tree branch or moss on a tree.
Getting outside doesn’t have to be a chore
At Mambe, we are committed to helping you stay warm and dry during the winter because we believe that getting outside is for everyone, and it should be fun! There is nothing more miserable than being cold and outside, and that is why we work so hard to make quality blankets and raincoats to help you enjoy your time outside.