Walking can help you stay fit and boost your mood by releasing endorphins and relieving depression, among other benefits. While it isn’t easy to walk outside when snow and ice are on the ground, that doesn’t mean you should sit inside and miss out on that exercise and fresh air. Avoid injuries by following our tips for walking in winter!
#1. Put on Proper Footwear
Walking outdoors begins with having the proper footwear. You’ll want well-insulated, waterproof boots with a thick sole and nonslip tread. Preferably, they’ll also be lightweight and have wide low heels. Not only will they be comfortable, but they’ll keep your feet dry and keep you from slipping.
#2. Use Ice Grippers for Boots
You can try using ice grippers to walk on ice and hard-packed snow, especially when hiking. To help your feet stay warm and protected from injury, many styles have a durable barrier and protected toe box. Be mindful, however, not to use them on smooth surfaces, like ceramic, tile, and stone, as this will be slippery.
#3. Wear Reflective Clothing
There’s less daylight in the wintertime. You’ll want drivers and other people to see you easily, no matter the time of day. To stand out, wear bright colors or reflective clothing. Also, stay warm by dressing in layers and putting on a winter hat, scarf, and pair of gloves.
#4. Bring Your Phone
More people stay inside during cold winter months, so there may be fewer passersby. In case you should need help, bring your phone along and ensure it’s fully charged. Only use it for an emergency, so you’re not distracted while walking. Someone could come to pick you up, or you could use a rideshare app.
#5. Buy a Walking Cane or Stick
Consider buying a walking cane or stick to help you keep your balance and stay upright should you slip. The cane could come with an attached retractable ice pick at the end. Just flip the ice pick back once you’re inside because it’ll be slippery on smooth or hard floors.
Ski poles will also work. Just make sure your selected option is at the right height for you.
#6. Plan a Walking Route
Before stepping foot outside, be aware of the weather conditions and plan a safe route you can take. Avoid shortcuts and, instead, walk on well-lit roads or paths that have been cleared. With online map services, you can put your route into a map to calculate its distance.
#7. Incorporate Ankle Strengthening Exercises
You can more easily walk outside in winter by incorporating ankle strengthening exercises into your fitness routine. Luckily, these can be done from the comfort of home.
Strengthening the muscles around the ankles:
- increases flexibility.
- improves balance.
- improves bone density.
- leads to a quicker recovery.
- prevents injuries.
- reduces pain.
Consult a Podiatrist at The Foot & Ankle Center
If you’re experiencing pain in your foot or ankle, have a consult with one of our knowledgeable doctors. The podiatrists at The Foot & Ankle Center have the ability to pinpoint the source of your pain and recommend treatment. Request an appointment online or call us at (314) 487-9300 to get started!