5 tips for fitness walking in winter

During winter, don't abandon your fitness walking just because of the cold and wind! Equip yourself from head to toe against the cold and adjust your walking speed. Read our 5 tips for keeping your motivation during your winter sessions!


1 - The "3 layer" system for the fast walker in winter

Do you really feel the cold during the winter? Does your motivation take a nose-dive when the cold weather hits?

The solution is to put on 3 warm layers. These successive layers of insulation protect you from the cold, and enable you to adjust your thermal protection as the effort requires. Although you may feel cold on starting, the exertion will quickly warm you up, and you'll start to sweat after a few kilometres of fitness walking. It is therefore important to be able to remove and add layers of thermal protection according to your needs.

The 3-layer system is recommended by cross-country walker Emmanuel Lassalle, who's spent long hours training, in all weathers:

"On top, I wear a "first layer" vest, to keep the heat in. On top of that I wear a long-sleeved zipped top to insulate me from the cold. Then I wear a waterproof and breathable jacket to protect me from the wind and bad weather."

N.B.: avoid cotton clothing that gets wet when you sweat and go for breathable fabrics. For easy removal of layers as you walk, choose clothing with zips!


2 - Keep your legs warm in winter

Long sports tights or leggings are essential for winter walking. When the temperature drops, your muscles become stiffer, which increases the risk of injury.

Wearing tights or leggings combined with warming gels helps to retain the heat that you generate whilst walking.


3 - Protect your extremities from the cold at all times

Emmanuel Lassalle also takes care to protect the extremities of the body: "I never forget to wear my hat, gloves and warm socks to protect my feet. The cold enters through the ground, while 60% of all body heat is lost through the head!"

And what about your neck? "A tubular fleece scarf with air vents and which can be pulled up over the nose!"


4 - Don't forget your supplies when you go fitness walking in cold weather

Going fitness walking in winter consumes more calories, as the body requires more energy to keep warm. Therefore, it's better not to walk on an empty stomach, and a good idea to slip a cereal bar or dried fruit into your pocket. 

Don't forget your water bottle either, because, contrary to popular belief, the cold speeds up dehydration!

Drink small mouthfuls of water or an energy drink every 15 minutes. You can also opt for a hot drink if you want to fend off the cold and protect a sensitive stomach…


5 - Adapt your fitness walking speed to the terrain

If the ground is snowy or frosty, wear fitness walking shoes which offer optimum grip. Walk more slowly than usual to be sure of your footing and avoid slipping.

"Stay on a path you already know, or one you know to be safe," adds Emmanuel, "as snow levels out the ground and hides holes…"

And if the weather conditions make it difficult to see, get out your headlamp and your high-visibility jacket so you can safely see and be seen.

By adopting these 5 essential habits, you will grow to love walking in the cold!