Early winter walking

December is here, and with it the reality of winter, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.  This time last year I was here, snorkeling and diving and kayaking, at the beginning of summer.

The beach in Queensland, Australia, with blue water and a coral beach, with boats in the background.

Now I’m back to my regular non-sabbatical life, in my non-sabbatical home.  A recent view out my window, after a brief dusting of snow, looked like this.

A view from my second-floor window of a tan house, a street and yard with a dusting of snow, and some trees and bushes with red and yellow leaves.

I’m riding some, but not much right now.  It’s that frenetic, festive time between Thanksgiving in late November and New Year’s, filled with grading and parties and more grading and traveling to see family, hopefully having finished the grading before Christmas.

One thing I’m doing differently this year:  I’m walking every day.  Some of the Fit is a Feminist Issue bloggers and friends are doing a challenge of running a mile every day from Thanksgiving until New Year’s.  We will be doing a group blog about this on New Year’s Day, reporting our experiences.

For me, running is not an option, as my knee won’t allow it.  So I’m walking instead.  I’ll post more about how that went later, but for now:

Walking in winter is… well, really nice.

I love the colder temperatures (and it’s not really that cold.. yet).  When I was walking to work in Sydney spring/summer during my sabbatical and also in August (late winter for them, spring temps relative to Boston), I arrived at work drenched in sweat.  I tend to run hot anyway, and because of perimenopause I’ve had to completely rethink my clothing, because I run even hotter these days.

It turns out that this is a positive feature for a person living through New England winters.  First, it means that my heat bills will certainly be lower (I’m not actually kidding).  And second, it means that winter walking is extremely pleasurable.  I wear layers and peel off or vent as need be (and trust me, the need definitely be!).  And the cold feels GOOD.  Third, it’s been an opportunity to explore a new winter accessory:  headbands!

two headbands and one set of ear muffs on a table

Yes, I see the earmuffs on the left.  I wanted to include them because 1) my aunt Cathy gave them to me– thanks, Aunt Cathy!; and 2) they are a viable option to the headband for those who find hats too warm for conditions.

The blue Castelli headband is one I use for cycling, but the pretty burgundy flowered one is new.  And it’s perfect for keeping my ears warm and rest of head cool enough while I’m (literally) steaming around in cold weather.

Walking in winter (so far) also feels quieter and more calm than walking in other seasons.  Here, the trees are bare and sometimes the sky is gray, or it’s a crystal blue.  The air is crisp, and sometimes the wind is blowing.  But walking, I’m ready for it.  I’m going at a slower pace than a runner, easily able to futz with clothing or switch out a hat for my  headband.  I’ve got tissues, too.

No, this isn’t a vigorous activity.  I’m not sweating much or at all.  I’m not going very far. But I’m liking it very much, this winter walking.  Of course, I can’t wait for real snow to come (famous last words, I know); I plan to do a lot of cross country skiing.  And there will be winter riding too, depending on the snow and road conditions.  But right now, early winter walking is a quiet pleasure, perfect for the period before harsher winter arrives.

What’s your favorite season for walking?  How do you like being out and about in winter?

3 thoughts on “Early winter walking

  1. Why do people still wear those ear muffs with some sort of elastic/plastic band on to keep them in place? I only ask as there are earbags ( which fit on each individual ear, work superbly with helmets or with a headband/buff without needing to figure out which is going on first to cope with the plastic band. I’ve tested them at over 50 miles per hour and they stay put without any visible means of support and cost about $20. Why wouldn’t you?

    I should add I am absolutely nothing to do with the folk who make earbags – I’ve just been buying them, using them and giving them as presents to all and sundry for 10 years or more – every recipient has become a fan, people have got them for their kids in all sorts of colours from sparkly pink to camo green/brown.

    1. Wow– I’ve never run across earbags. Just checked out the website. Those might really work for me, as they would keep my ears warm but not make me too hot the way a hat could. Thanks for the tip!

  2. I love walking in autumn the best with the colour (which we don’t experience fiery reds like Ontario/northeastern U.S.) when it’s warmish with a smell of fall. It brings back memories of growing up on an older street in the downtown core with heritage homes in Kitchener-Waterloo with all the autumn glorious colours.

    Today, it snowed 2-4 cm., soft fluffy flakes and yes walked for groceries, then coffee with a tart. I’m not keen to cycle with wet snow that can freeze to ice underneath.

    I just received an email from a long time friend who is in her late 70’s who can only walk with a cane because of hip, back problems. She used to be very active –also did lots of walking just 5 years ago. Now, I feel I should use my gift for blogging and photos, for her to read. We have to exercise both our physical activity loves and our intellectual /non exercise gifts. There’s so much to do in such little time.

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