Thursday, January 10, 2008


A coworker asked me about winter for our company newsletter and here is my reply:

Winter survival comes in two fashions; hate it or deal with it. Hate it: pout, stay inside, watch TV and eat. Don't complain to me about being fat in the Spring, though. Deal with it: go outside and stare down Ol' Man Winter. Winter here has a beauty that you really need to see to appreciate, a silence and alien (to inside-folk) world that is really worth the trouble to venture into. So here's three things to consider about winter:

First thing is to dress for the weather, since there isn't any bad weather, just bad clothes. Real winter survival depends on you keeping yourself warm and dry. Wear a hat and good boots and keep moving and you'll be surprised how quickly you'll get warm. Keep sweat from staying next to your skin with wicking underwear ("base layers" to outdoor geeks). Wool is best, but polypropylene or silk work well too. Layers are the way to do it, with the last layer windproof. Keep it light because you may want to shed a layer after a while.

Second thing is to do something you like. I'm happy to be outside, so I don't care what I'm doing and I have a bunch of winter toys. You needn't go out and spend a bunch of money on gear or go all that far since Winter tends to have a wide delivery area. A walk in a regional or state park is cheap (free), sledding with kids, boot hockey or walking a dog are cheap too. Rent snowshoes -- they're great for going to hard to reach places and you'll probably get the hang of them in about 5 minutes. Heck, the hardest part of snowshoeing is putting them on followed by taking them off. You don't have to buy a bunch of stuff or go far

Last thing has to attitude. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you hate the cold, the dark, the snow, the whatever. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is treated in lots of ways, but one of the most effective ways is exercise. And, right now, do you really want to go to the Gym with all the Resolutionists staring at themselves in their new work out clothes and iPods? Wait in line for a stair machine and try to read the closed captions of a show you don't really care about? A little fresh air won't kill you. You don't have to camp in the Boundary Waters for a week, just walk around your neighborhood. Work into it slowly, and you may possibly find out that those skiers and shoers aren't as crazy as you first thought…


Mended Meanderer said...

Nice to meet another Midwesterner who 's a big guy and loves to bike. I actually grew up in New York and have been in Nebraska for only two years. But I've been mountain biking for a long time. I also wrestled and have lifted weights since age 13. I too am waging the war against girth, the gift I've had since birth! ;-)

Fight the good fight, my man!

A Midnight Rider said...

This is the time of year that I say "winter is my favorite time of year".

After the equinox I'll be saying that about spring.

I'm not one to go home after work, eat and watch tv for five hours. I get home from the Y around 7:30 in the evening. My neighbor gets home from work a little earlier. Every night we take our dogs for a long walk on the MUP and don't usually get back to the house till 8:30 or later.

Heavy rain will deter us but not much else.

Enjoy the season. We both know it's not that bad at all.

the old bag said...


gotta make winter your friend