The ultimate survival guide to snowy winters

How to bundle up and have fun during the cold season

The best way to stay warm is by wearing layers.
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Growing up in Northern Ontario and exercising in crazy weather has taught me a thing or two about handling cold, snowy winters. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned over the years:

First, check the weather forecast before getting dressed for the day. This will help you choose what to wear and perhaps even which activities you’ll get up to. As author Alfred Wainwright once said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”

Learning how to bundle up appropriately for the weather is key. The best way to go about staying warm is to dress in layers, since you can easily take off outer layers later as you heat up. This is particularly relevant for anyone exercising outside in winter.

Base layers will help keep you dry. Wool is a great base layer material, as it can absorb up to 30 per cent its weight in water before starting to feel wet. Mid-layers like sweaters tend to be thicker as they help retain your body heat, while outer layers—usually a coat or jacket—protect from the wind and snow.

Make sure to keep your extremities toasty by wearing thick socks and mitts. Avoid gloves as they tend not to keep your fingers as warm. Wearing a toque and a scarf will prevent heat from escaping through your head and can often be pretty fashionable.

If you plan on staying in the cold for a prolonged period of time, make sure to bring a portable charger, as the cold can often drain battery life from electronic devices. Handwarmers and snow pants might also be useful, especially if you plan on standing around for a while.

Not planning to go outside at all? I don’t blame you: nothing compares to a cozy day in during a snowstorm. Plus, you should avoid driving during and after a snowstorm unless absolutely necessary, so you have the perfect excuse to stay in. Here are my suggestions for the optimal day in.

Light some candles and find warm blankets to bundle up and read a book in—or, if you’re like me, binge-watch the latest season of Queer Eye. Making tea, hot chocolate, or other hot drinks is not only extremely comforting, but it will help keep you hydrated.

Cold snowy weather is the perfect time to get cooking. After all, turning on the oven will warm up your house. Time to whip up that oven-baked mac and cheese you’ve been meaning to try, or give your grandma a call to get her cookie recipe. Although ordering in is also an option, remember that it means someone else will have to drive in hazardous conditions.

Final tip: invest in shoe spikes such as these Yaktrax Pro Traction Devices. They’re a game-changer for runners and walkers alike, and have prevented some serious injuries over the years.

I hope these tips will help you not only survive, but thrive during the wonderful season that is winter.

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