Tips for Staying Active Through the Winter
February is here, and although we are inching toward warmer months, we still have a long time until we swap our Bean Boots for flip flops. For some of us, that means an exciting mix of weekend trips for skiing or snowshoeing, but for others, it might take an extra effort to get out the door this season.
We get it! It’s tough to stay motivated when it’s -5 degrees without the windchill. But even though it’s cold, for our minds and bodies, it’s best to stay active through every season.
With this blog post and guidance from our Wellness Resource, we hope to give you a little extra motivation and some tips for staying active this winter.
Dress for the elements. The great Sir Ranulph Fiennes said, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing,” and we couldn’t agree more. Stay away from cotton, as it will wick away your body heat if it is exposed to moisture. Fleece and wool are my personal favorites, but polyester layers will keep you warm, too. Check out local secondhand and thrift stores for great deals on these pricier garments.
Layer, layer, layer! Have you ever walked outside with your warmest coat on and a t-shirt underneath? If your coat that’s rated for -15 degrees is too hot for you but the t-shirt just won’t suffice, you’ll be caught in a sticky situation. That’s why when you’re dressing for an outdoor adventure, you should always dress in layers. A good idea is to start with your lightest one and build up from there, knowing that as your heart rate goes up, you’ll probably stuff some layers in your backpack. Pro-Tip: avoid multiple layers with zippers as they can bunch up and chafe.
Cover up! Balaclavas or Buff® Neck Gaiters cover up your neck and face, preventing sensitive skin from the elements, sunburn, frost nip, and frostbite. They’re a great investment for the winter, but I even use my thinner Buff® garments sea kayaking in the summertime as extra sun protection. Bring gloves, too! Even if you don’t put them on to start out, it’s always nice to have the option for a spontaneous snowball fight with friends.
Stay hydrated. Keep water accessible so you’re more likely to drink it. Just like hiking in the summertime, your mind and body perform better when hydrated. I prefer to keep a bladder in my backpack so I don’t have to keep unscrewing a lid, but make sure you take sips every now and then or the hose might freeze up on you!
Eat up! Avoid hangry situations by keeping healthy snacks in your pockets when you go on adventures in cold weather. Some favorites of mine are Larabars, homemade peanut butter energy balls, beef jerky, and dried, unsulfured papaya. No matter the season, make sure that any waste you produce is put in a ZIPPED pocket. Remember that most litter is unintentional and do your best to prevent it by being proactive.
Keep your heart-rate up. You’ll stay warmer if you are producing heat through the activity you’re doing. Try to avoid activities that will drastically increase and then decrease your heart-rate if you’re not used to it. Producing lots of body heat (or sweat) followed by periods of stagnation can be uncomfortable and at worst, can open yourself up to cold-related injuries like frost nip, frost bite, and hypothermia. Keeping a steady heart-rate is best.
Have fun! Try things out, meet new people, go to new places. You’ll be amazed by how much fun you have when you give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the coldest months of the year. You’ll enjoy the quiet of the trail, see wildlife, and enjoy new activities all while doing something great for your body and your mind.
Join an outing group. It’s easy to lapse into the laziness of wintertime when you’re just trying to motivate yourself to get out and stay active, but outing groups can add that extra push to go on that hike you’ve been putting off. Check out our list of local outing groups located on BTLT’s new online wellness resource.
Find local events and outings. Even if you don’t want to commit to joining a group, you can look to local organizations for led hikes and outings that are open to the public. The Great Maine Outdoor Weekend is a fantastic opportunity to check out local trails, meet new people, and enjoy a wide breadth of recreational opportunities in the state. Join us at the Cathance River Nature Preserve for our Great Maine Outdoor Weekend Snowshoe/Hike Outings with AMC on February 8 and February 15 or at Neptune Woods for a group fat tire mountain bike ride with Six Rivers NEMBA followed by a Brews for a Cause Fundraiser at Flight Deck Brewing on February 10. All upcoming BTLT events and outings can be found here.
Find activities for less. It’s no secret that winter is the slow season in Maine. During the summer, you can hardly find a parking spot from Biddeford to Bath, but the winter can sometimes seem like a ghost town. Unsurprisingly, lots of businesses put forth an effort to get locals in the door. It might take some searching, but deals like Bath Skate Park’s monthly Millennials Night are out there! If you prefer to go downhill, Liftopia.com frequently offers discounts on lift tickets to local mountains. Beyond the deals, there are fun and inexpensive ways to stay active, like visiting a public skating rink in Brunswick or Bath, going for a cross-country ski on the trails at Crystal Spring Farm, or enjoying a leisurely snowshoe at Bradley Pond Farm Preserve.
For more activity ideas, visit BTLT’s new Wellness Resource today!