Although outdoor excursions are enjoyable any time of year, there's something special about winter walks. I find them invigorating. When the warm air inside feels heavy or stale and I've found myself looking at a screen for hours, a walk outside is a tonic. It clears my head and feels refreshing.

One key to a great walk is to leave the phone behind... or at least turn it off. It's amazing how connecting to nature and taking in the sights and sounds all around me is incredibly grounding. When I'm in an area with trees and shrubs, bare branches make birds and dangling bird feeders more visible at this time of year. The cardinals are especially beautiful.

I love the sound of my boots crunching onto packed snow. Even the feel of my cheeks growing chilly and pink is pleasant, so long as there's none of those painfully cold winds that are more common further north.

Walks are a gentle, yet great way to exercise. It doesn't require all the organizing and planning of team sports or the equipment requirements of other activities. All I need are my winter outer layers and a comfortable pair of boots.

It's a mood booster, too.

When ideas aren't flowing or I'm stuck in an unpleasant thought loop, getting outside to reconnect with myself and nature does the trick. It's a great source of inspiration and makes me feel like I'm more in touch with my community. Sometimes I'll run into neighbours or delight in a funny discovery, like a hilarious snowman or snow angels on someone's front lawn.

Also, winter walks make great meet-ups. Rather than inviting someone over or finding a café that doesn't mind it's patrons sitting around for a long time, a walk works. It makes things easy for us both when I can ask someone to meet me down by the canal, lake, or a specific intersection. We can meander our way wherever we like and even pop into places of interest, if we choose.

In addition to the pleasure of walking itself, I experience a lot of benefits afterward. It's such a great feeling to walk back into the house and feel the warm air. It makes me appreciate central heating and gives me a general feeling of satisfaction that I've done something good for myself.

Perhaps we'll see you during one of our winter walks sometime soon!

January 10, 2023 — Antoinette D'Angelo

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