219 comments

It’s Winter… Get Out and Enjoy it!

MunetI’ve decided to grant myself the rest of the year off*. But don’t worry, I’m extending the same privilege to YOU as well.

As those of us in the North endure the coldest and darkest days of the year, everything seems to shut down. Some of this is a good thing – the holiday season brings with it plenty of time away from work and school. But some of it is rubbish as well – I am seeing drastically fewer bikers and walkers out there, and parents are even driving their kids to school to protect them from my area’s not-very-punishing winter.

Last month, a friend of mine reported his total biking miles to commemorate “the end of the biking season”, as if there were some imaginary and tragic season when we had to stop using our bikes. And at the risk of causing a domestic dispute, my own wife has started using the climate controlled motorized throne for her weekly grocery run, despite the fact that we live only 1.5 miles from the grocery store. Even YOU might find yourself spending more time indoors in the winter, taking shelter from the discomfort that lurks outside.

Beware of this tendency, for it is a perfect example of Bullshit Lifestyle Creep. You experience discomfort or inconvenience, and your efficient but misguided survival mechanisms kick in, gently nudging you to avoid the discomfort. You stay cozy inside, knitting on the couch or watching a quality series on Netflix, and the winter passes safely by outside your window. And you miss all the benefits she has to offer.

So in case you forgot, let me remind you: going outside is FANTASTIC. Especially in cold or rainy weather.

Sure, you already knew that a stroll outside on a beautiful day is a good thing. Everyone does that, and many of us fly great distances just to be able to have the experience during a Northern winter. But it turns out it is not the warm sunshine that is making that experience so worthwhile – that’s just the comfortable and convenient layer on top. The real benefit is just the fact that you are outside, walking, moving, and working on things as you are meant to be doing. And as it turns out, all of these things are possible in any weather, and they are even more rewarding in adverse conditions.

When you go out in cold and darkness, it is an adventure. You have to prepare in advance. It actually takes some brainpower to strategically design your outfit, because you could die if you spent too long out there without clothes. Do you need a hat? Gloves? Thermal underwear or a wind layer? A mobile phone and flashlight, just in case? Awesome.

You step outside and suddenly your world expands dramatically. There’s the black sky far above.

HELLO.”

Says the moon as it looks straight down at you. Do you realize that thing is 250,000 miles away? And yet it hovers perfectly in the sky, because it’s really whipping around your planet, held by a quarter million mile gravitational bungie cord. That is infinitely more amazing than whatever you were doing before you stepped out for this walk.

But wait, look at all those stars scattered everywhere else. Some of them are really planets in our own solar system – Venus is a big one at 100 million miles away, but the stars of the Big Dipper are 100 light years away, which is more like 590 trillion miles.  And yet there they are, presented for your amusement as you stand there to take it all in.

If you’re lucky, it is damned cold out here. The air bites just a bit at your well-protected cheeks and your mouth can shoot out a good 3-foot plume of steam when you exhale. You start to walk.

Nobody else is out tonight. As you travel down the silent street, you can see the ridiculous lights flashing in the window of every home and apartment. These suckers are all wasting away their precious time watching TV, while you are out here being alive. In our future Badass Utopia, this experience will be different. Everyone will be outside, reverently taking in the beauty of the night and the freshness of the air. Every night will be like a Midnight Mass, with the Cosmos as the host. But for now, you’ve got the place to yourself. You are the pioneer of the evening walk.

This meditative feeling you have is like hitting the mental reset button. All of your stresses, worries and bad moods become less with each step you take. If you do this often enough, they will be gone altogether. But it’s not just the machinery atop your neck that is getting a tuneup, the rest of your body is jumping for joy as well.

Every one of your physical systems is coming alive. Clean blood is circulating through, healing the pipes from the damages of sitting down too long. Fat cells are being drained and deflated, while muscles are pumping up. And the exposure to cold air is having mysterious positive effects on your metabolism and everything else, best summed up as General Badassity.

You might even break into a little jog at this point. The jog feels so good that you keep it up for a while. And just to prove you’re really alive you decide to SPRINT for this next little bit of your journey, just until you reach those two trees way up there. Everything is whipping by now – the air is roaring in your ears and your eyes are watering from the cold wind. You can think of those as tears of joy from your cardiovascular system. You run out of sprint power and return to walking, with heart pumping and steam drifting from all exposed skin, and turn back toward home.

As you return to your warm, bright home you are the hero. Alive, glowing, creative and invincible. You are a mysterious force to anybody who chose the wimpier path of staying inside or taking the car. You are someone who has finally figured out how life is meant to be lived.

Now grab a pen and paper and list a few additional ways you’re going to make your life better from now on.

 

*The Mustache family is headed to Canada for the holiday season until January 6th – Hamilton first, then Ottawa. That’s where you’ll find some real winter night walking weather. Maybe we will even get to band together for an evening walk. Stuff like this shows up on the Twitter feed if you want to click the follow button there. The stream is also presented at the bottom of the blog’s front page.

  • Keith Schroeder December 23, 2014, 12:45 pm

    You and your family have a wonderful holiday, good man. You are living right.

    There is something you didn’t mention: contentment. Walking in the crisp cold can be solitary, but it is also calming. When I walk in weather considered inclement I feel an over-whelming feeling of contentment. It makes me feel happy. Even happier when my wife or the girls come with. But no matter, always over-whelming contentment.

    Happy Holidays to everyone!

    Reply
  • tim December 23, 2014, 1:36 pm

    MMM,

    Sounds like you’ve been taking on board some lessons from your Stoicism reading:

    http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/02/what-is-stoicism-and-how-can-it-turn-your-life-to-solid-gold/

    (although I suspect you were a lot like this already). I’m currently reading Irvine’s ‘A Guide to the Good Life The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy’ and your post resonated with the Stoic practice of expanding comfort zones to improve life.

    Reply
  • Lisa?BPA December 23, 2014, 1:58 pm

    Hey. If by “band together for a walk” you mean with Hamilton Mustachians, shoot me an email. Merry Christmas and all the rest. Had a great ride on the Escarpment Rail Trail today which also included a stop at the LCBO. ;) But really I’m not too badass for all that. It’s ridiculously warm for Hamilton right now.

    Reply
    • Margaret December 23, 2014, 3:01 pm

      Me too. I would love to join in for a walk in the Hamilton area!

      Reply
      • dave December 23, 2014, 5:21 pm

        It actually qualifies as hot out right now in southern ontario. Real short and tshirt weather

        Reply
  • Mrs. WW December 23, 2014, 2:10 pm

    Yes! Everyone assumes that, because you need to wear a coat to be outside, that you shouldn’t spend time outside. The crisp, cold air is marvelous.

    I recently had two flats in one day (separate trips and different tires.) It forced me to spend even more time outside and it was great. If only I hadn’t taken the shortcut through the park and unintentionally loaded up my knobby winter tires with goose poo. : P

    Reply
  • Steve Adcock December 23, 2014, 2:15 pm

    You probably won’t find me outside during the worst that weather has to offer because I don’t derive much happiness from it. But, the larger point is a good one. People tend to return back to their comfort zones during winter and rely on luxuries and conveniences when the weather isn’t perfect.

    Trust me, you will never know what you’re made of until you find yourself frolicking in the snow in nothing but your boxers. Yes, frolicking. :)

    Reply
  • Jerome December 23, 2014, 2:54 pm

    I hail from the great white north of Edmonton Alberta. Originally from a warmer clime I spent the first couple winters only biking and running during the odd warm spell. Now I have learned to embrace the weather and run 8 km to and from work and sneak in a lunchtime run once a week to get some sunshine. Even in – 20 C I have only ever needed 2 wool layers and a windbreaker. As soon as you get moving you don’t even feel the cold. Get out and enjoy it! Great Article.

    Reply
    • Eldred December 25, 2014, 9:43 pm

      I’m impressed that so many of you actually *enjoy* cold, or simply don’t feel it. I’ve had on a t-shirt, regular shirt, jacket, and coat and STILL feel the chill below 30F. I just can’t deal with cold weather. And that doesn’t even count the wind chill of biking. 20 below?!? Not even on a BET…. Looking forward to when I can leave the Winter Wonderland called Michigan.

      Reply
      • Judith December 26, 2014, 6:46 pm

        Peoples blood actually thickens up in cold weather, and thins out in heat. It is what enables people to live in Saudi Arabia and tolerate +45C and also Northern Canada and tolerate -45. It doesn’t happen instantly, and that is why one often feels colder at the beginning of the cold weather season than they do several weeks into it. I also get very stressed and warm on a +20 degree day in April, more so than +30 in July.

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      • Charlie Bader December 27, 2014, 7:34 am

        Lots of people bike up here in the deep cold. Some bike the entire Iditarod Trail and back in that kind of cold. They make handlebar covers called ‘poagies’ which make a huge difference with the wind. The feet take the brunt as well and there are cheap solutions for that too- good winter boots on rat-trap pedals. They also make some very expensive boots if you need to clip in. Other than that, a good wind shell on top of some insulating layers and your activity will generate a considerable amount of heat. Light yourself up like a Christmas Tree and go have a great time! You will find that you can ride places not possible in the summer, mostly frozen swamps and lakes- as long as the ice is thick enough.

        Reply
  • Mr. Captain Cash December 23, 2014, 4:02 pm

    MMM,

    I couldn’t agree more with the message of this post. I’d say 95% of my evening strolls around the neighbourhood I am a lone soul along the streets with my route lit up from the glow of my neighbours brain sucking television tubes. I must be completely honest I am still working on increasing my badassity as you call it. As I did put my bike away at the beginning of December to begin working on a way to get the tires more traction from the occasional freezing rain blitz we’ve been having. As of now work is still underway. Going to try to reduce the tire pressure even lower to see if that helps.

    Have fun in Ottawa,

    Mr. Captain Cash

    Reply
  • Frugal Bazooka December 23, 2014, 4:30 pm

    The three things I love about the winter:

    1. With wuss factor high – fewer people out and about means more open space for me
    2. The Christmas vacation and general good will means a more positive vibe in the air
    3. The longer days and nights give me the chance to re-charge my mental and physical batteries

    Merry Happy New Xmas Year MMM and thanks for making the year more optimistically interesting.

    Reply
  • Chris E December 23, 2014, 4:39 pm

    Great post! Even though its not cold here in San Diego here during the winter time, most people that have lived here for a few years think that anything below 70 degrees means it is time to turn on the heater and stay inside.

    But it was a beautiful day today and I had myself a legit bad ass mustachian day. First, I added some weather seal to the garage door to keep out that nasty San Diego cold air, then I took my son in the jogging stroller on some errands around town (no car needed!) and finally gave myself a haircut when I got home and it looks better than the barber shop. So I saved on a potentially higher heating bill, gas and a $20-30 haircut. Not bad for half a day.

    Reading this site has definitely made an impact on my life and I am legitimately excited to see how far I can go and hopefully inspire more people.

    Keep up the great work brother!

    Reply
  • Frugal in DC December 23, 2014, 4:52 pm

    This week we’re visiting family in an area with very warm weather. I went for a run and remembered how much more I prefer colder and drizzly weather for my runs. Oh well, I kept going rather than cry-babying my way into a climate-controlled treadmill. I felt great and will be going for another run outside tomorrow.

    Reply
  • George December 23, 2014, 5:24 pm

    In the Pacific NorthWet, the salmon runs are ending and the winter steelhead runs are ramping up (full tilt on some rivers). By gum, ya gotta go out and see all the salmon & steelhead swimming upstream this time of year!

    Now that means putting on waterproof outer garments and an appropriate number of layers underneath. If you’re not fishing, you don’t need the fashionable waders, but you’ll still want boots and a brimmed hat. Just make sure you stay away from the trees during a windstorm, OK?

    Reply
  • TiffB December 23, 2014, 5:30 pm

    Some video inspiration – my husband is the winter paddle/bike commuter highlighted in this video (Portland, OR). This article sounds just like him.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7LBYFRu9QY

    Reply
  • Tawcan December 23, 2014, 6:32 pm

    There are so many things you can do in the winter time. As long as you dress up for the weather you’ll be fine. You can’t do any of the winter sports during summer. Getting face washed by snow while skiing down the slope is one of those wonderful things that I enjoy in the winter time.

    Reply
  • LeisureFreak Tommy December 23, 2014, 6:49 pm

    When I was a young man my friend and I whose main mode of transportation was our bicycles made some tire chains so that we could have fun riding and just being stupid on snowy days. It worked until the chains came apart (poor teenager design) and we took to foot the rest of the winter when it was icy and snowy. I still enjoy hiking in the winter. Something about taking to a trail covered in light undisturbed snow that adds to the feeling of being at one with nature if only for a short while. When it is cold and still I do love the way that sound travels. From my own walking to the sound from the activity of the area wildlife.

    Reply
  • ajg December 23, 2014, 7:25 pm

    This year we are renting a house that didn’t have space in the basement for my weight bench, so I put it in the garage. I know it’s not the same as being outside, but I felt like it was worth mentioning that it’s been really enjoyable to lift all fall/winter in the colder air. The bars and plates are cold at first. And you do need to warm up a bit more before getting in to a routine. But it’s much more enjoyable than when it was in the 80’s with tons of humidity. So I wanted to offer some encouragement to any who would consider it, but think it might not be doable/enjoyable.

    When it gets below freezing for more than a couple days I just run a little space heater to make the air a little warmer. Wondering if there are others who lift in the garage who have found helpful tricks to do it through the winter.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache December 24, 2014, 2:19 pm

      Yeah! My weight bench now lives fully in the great outdoors on the back patio, since I have no room inside. My only secret is some thin grippy gloves for when the bar is icy cold.

      Reply
    • Brad December 27, 2014, 10:32 am

      Totally on the same page. 5 minutes of warm up with sweats on and it’s time to start peeling off layers. Work outs are much more enjoyable with natural A/C.

      Mechanix utility gloves work great for barbell work on days < 50 F.

      Reply
  • livesimplecolorado December 23, 2014, 7:45 pm

    I hate the cold. I hate that it gets dark so early. As a runner, I have become completely codependent on my treadmill (otherwise known as the dreadmill) just to avoid running at night in the cold. Then I think to myself as I look at my dog who is going nuts being cooped up inside (he has been shredding toys in protest), that I need to just suck it up. I got a headlamp for me and a light for his collar and headed out last night (only time that works for a run in the winter now). It was awesome! Sucking it up….not so sucky. Dog is happy, I feel so much better.

    Reply
  • livesimplecolorado December 23, 2014, 7:47 pm

    I hate the cold. I hate that it gets dark so early. As a runner, I have become completely codependent on my treadmill (otherwise known as the dreadmill) just to avoid running at night in the cold. Then I think to myself as I look at my dog who is going nuts being cooped up inside (he has been shredding toys in protest), that I need to just suck it up. I got a headlamp for me and a light for his collar and headed out last night (only time that works for a run in the winter now). It wgas awesome! Sucking it up….not so sucky. Dog is happy, I feel so much better.

    Reply
  • George December 23, 2014, 8:21 pm

    Thanks MMM for another insightful perspective. Funny thing the winter has been around all this time, yet I forgot about all the cool stuff that it is outside in the cold.

    Thanks for busting me out of my funk and old assumptions to avoid the cold, I will schedule some outdoors time tomorrow and try out one of those cold evening walks you talk about. It almost sounds poetic the way you describe it.

    Reply
  • decembeir December 23, 2014, 8:28 pm

    Your description of walking outside reminded me of the short story “The Pedestrian” by Ray Bradbury where the main character enjoys going for walks, and in all his years of walking he has never met another walker because everyone else is too busy watching tv inside their houses.

    Reply
  • Ann December 23, 2014, 9:57 pm

    ‘There are more things on heaven and earth… than are dreamt of in your philosophy’! (Hamlet). As much as I admire you, MMM, I must say, you really need to have respect for the diverse temperaments, tastes and traits of your fellow earth-dwellers. Of course going out for a walk on a cold night contemplating outer space is a good thing, but so are other winter activities like some badass knitting, some quality TV entertainment and even some deep spiritual searching. Now I know Hamlet would have done better if he’d gone outside a bit more and taken some action from time to time, but imagine if William Shakespeare had spent all his time on the bike instead of staying indoors to write the plays he was here to write. There are lots of valuable ways of being in the world and they are not all consistent with each other. We are all limited in the number of places we can direct our attention to. Face punching is fun and often useful, but a little humility is useful too.

    Reply
    • woodnclay December 24, 2014, 7:45 am

      I agree that we are a diverse species but in Shakespeare’s time there was no TV, no aircon, central heating or even bicycles and it was probably pretty cold in winter in Stratford (or wherever he roamed)! Maybe that is what fuelled his creativity, not lounging on the sofa at 21 degrees C! I don’t imagine there was much “comfort” around in those days: going out for wood for the fire, food and water… Maybe that’s why there hasn’t been anyone that can match Shakespeare in “modern times”?

      Reply
  • Johnny Aloha December 24, 2014, 4:09 am

    We are planning a trip to the Arctic Circle, in winter, for exactly these reasons.

    Reply
  • HenryDavid December 24, 2014, 5:35 am

    Funnest winter bike-commute moment ever: two feet (61 cm) of beautiful fresh powder snow, dry as dust in the -15 Calgary chill, so it falls right off the mountain bike tire treads. Stopping to plant the bike upright in a big drift and help push a taxi-cab whose tires were spinning like crazy on a little hill. Then swinging the leg back over the bike to continue the calm, quiet, white commute through a sunny neighbourhood full of snow-dusted spruces.
    Being outside, dressed for the weather, enjoying the warmth of human-powered locomotion, beats cowering anxiously inside a little metal box every time. (OK, unless you’re taking a 100k trip. But . . . don’t.)

    Reply
  • camry December 24, 2014, 6:11 am

    MMM, this might not be a comment for this blog post, but have been meaning to ask. How is your portfolio doing after a decade. Has it stayed flat, gone up a quarter, doubled….i ask because i have just started out being FI (for a year now) and feel an urge to go ‘portfolio peeking’ everyday, and if the next decade is going to be as turbulent as this past one, I’d want to hear the thoughts of those who’ve lived through one without panicking.

    Reply
  • E. Bernstein December 24, 2014, 11:12 am

    I have a favorite moon-observing fact, courtesy of Guy Ottewell’s Astronomical Companion. It involves the last-quarter moon, the one that looks in the northern hemisphere like a backwards D. It rises around midnight, is highest around dawn, and sets around noon.

    The moon at that phase is sitting out ahead of the Earth, in the direction we’re heading. In about 3 1/2 hours, you will be at that point in space where you see the moon.

    It gives you a feeling of distances and speeds — imprecise though they are — that is hard to get otherwise.

    Next last-quarter moon I believe is January 13.

    Reply
    • Gerard December 25, 2014, 7:12 am

      This is cool. Thanks.

      Reply
    • Darrell December 30, 2014, 1:09 pm

      Wow, this is one of the coolest space facts I can remember hearing! I can’t wait to explain this to my kids in a couple of weeks.

      Reply
  • Gilad December 24, 2014, 12:37 pm

    Winter walks are brilliant, no doubt about it. whether it is a great outdoors walk (in which you are practically alone outside) or just a walk outside it is indeed invigorating (and helps metabolism!).
    I think the best is actually now, on Christmas day, as everyone’s staying in their houses we finally get some breathing room on the sidewalks (we live in Central London, UK) – excellent!
    Thanks MMM for maybe sending a few more lone cold air enjoyers outside this year, maybe we will even see some people.

    Reply
  • Old School December 24, 2014, 2:13 pm

    Winter running is the best! Few are out and about right after a snow storm and hearing the crunching of the snow as you shred some miles is awesome. Then getting back home and devouring some warm beverages is the best! Also splitting wood is a great chore to do in the cold. You really feel like a man when all you have on is flannel shirt because the work warms you up so much that you can’t wear a coat!

    Reply
  • MA$E December 24, 2014, 4:18 pm

    I dunno about you MMM, but here in London, ON, we are enjoying a not-so-winter like Xmas eve in the foggy 11 degree (Celsius) weather and having a family soccer game with my siblings, my kids and nephews…, not really winter, but SO nice to be out and active!

    Reply
  • Jo-Shin December 24, 2014, 4:32 pm

    Left this up while I went to finish making pies. My 9 year old, wannabe astrophysicist saw the moon pic and decided to read it, thinking it was astronomy related. I caught him halfway out the front door with his bike helmet in hand. Me — “What ARE you doing?” Him — “Riding my bike. That mustache dude on your computer is really cool!”
    You inspired at least one person in this household to get off their ass!

    Reply
  • RMH December 24, 2014, 11:07 pm

    Or you can get yourself a two-wheeled monster truck and go fatbiking! Snow, sleet, ice, trees, Smartcars, these beauties roll over EVERYTHING. http://surlybikes.com/bikes/ice_cream_truck_2015

    Reply
  • Tom Lilienthal December 25, 2014, 12:13 am

    Hi MMM,

    Many thanks for this posting. Over time, I had forgotten the wonders of
    being out for a walk at night in winter. I read your posting to my wife, we
    put on our running shoes and off we went for a very pleasant and enjoyable
    forty-five minute walk, viewing the stars and the surroundings. Yes, and
    all the folks inside, all bundled up and watching their flat screen TV’s.
    We are planning on making this our nightly adventure. Again, many thanks
    for the wake-up call!

    Reply
  • mihai December 25, 2014, 8:26 am

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  • Martin December 25, 2014, 1:28 pm

    It certainly is possible to derive pleasure out of the blistering cold season, however, I wonder how many people who talk of the joys of winter actually ever experienced dead-cold winter months like those of March or February in Ottawa (I remember quite well the temperature lows from last winter).

    Talking a walk on your street for a few minutes on a cold evening is one thing; it is much better for the mind and spirit than to lay on the couch watching CNN or Fox News. However, biking on a brutally cold morning or night with the wind piercing through your skin isn’t something I would call really ‘enjoyable’. Trust me, it is certainly bad ass and builds character, which is essentially why I cycle 30 k to work and back year-round, but during those mornings when my fingers are frozen to the bone, I can’t wait to get inside to see if they are still latched on to my hand and to warm them up again.

    I don’t particularly enjoy the 6 AM ride to work in the dead of February or the freezing pain that comes with it when it is -30 C outside with the wind chill. I won’t BS you in trying to make you believe that it is anywhere near ‘fun’. I doubt our ancestors walked miles in the blistering cold with a smile on their faces. I’m sure one of the only things on their minds was ‘Holy shit can I not wait to get my ass around a warm fire’. In those conditions, they wouldn’t spend much time gazing at the constellations like the ancient Greeks would do in Athens after a day at the agora. You just need to read accounts of many of our Canadian Coureur des bois from the 16th to 19th centuries to find out that even though they had steel-like endurance and will, under freezing cold conditions, all they wanted to do is get from point A to B as fast as possible. And hopefully, their destination welcomed them with a warm meal and fire.

    For me, this lifestyle of biking to work and walking to places under cold conditions is more or less of a tribute to our ancestor’s perils, and also because it builds character, but not really because it is enjoyable. Let’s not kid ourselves here.

    Reply
  • Zambian Lady December 25, 2014, 3:21 pm

    In Vienna, Austria, I am in a hiking group that has activities come rain, shine or snow and I go hiking with them regularly even in the winter since the air is crisp and fresh. However, I get lazy when I visit the country up north (where I am currently visiting) and just stay indoors. This time, though, I told myself that I would rekindle my little ice skating knowledge while I am here. I went skating on Monday and will only go again on Friday. Why? I have so many aches and pains after falling countless times. I did not have any arm pads and I don’t think I am strong enough to add pain on more pain.. I look forward to going skating tomorrow.

    Reply
  • Kayla December 26, 2014, 9:32 am

    I detest winter, but this year we’ve had fairly mild temperatures so far. It has really helped me to be more productive and willing to go outside for things.

    Reply
  • DrSweden December 26, 2014, 9:34 am

    Biking today in sweden in 17,6 F. For my birthday in october I will ask for a hat to have under the helmet and some thicker gloves. Otherwise it was great to bike in the cold. This is common in Sweden and I saw a few other biking people in the town center.

    Reply
  • JiminYork December 26, 2014, 12:58 pm

    Another great post. Here in York in the UK the city is brilliant at night, deserted of tourists and with all the buildings lit up against the pitch dark behind it. The pubs all look cosier and more welcoming too on a winter’s night, as if I needed that as an excuse for visiting. But, for me, a night walk will always take second place to an early morning one, the colder the better to keep everyone else in bed.

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  • Trombonedadio December 26, 2014, 3:05 pm

    Went for a walk in a freezing rain storm the other night. Fun! Just me and the Hydro Quebec trucks re-attaching people’s electricity!

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  • The Idiot December 26, 2014, 6:49 pm

    Well it’s summer here and you could get out and enjoy it, but few people seemed to be taking that option in the lead up to Xmas. Ducked into the supermarket at the last minute on foot, so I cut through the car park and there was a line up to exit. No one’s moving, cars pointing at the exit point from all directions, get inside, get outside 10 minutes later and the same people, in the same cars, are sitting in the same position!

    And this is convenience! I felt like waving as I went past, but I didn’t want to be that brutal.

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    • Doug December 28, 2014, 9:38 pm

      You must be in Australia. While travelling around Australia one thing I noticed is no one walks anywhere in Mount Isa, Queensland. I only ever saw one bicycle there, and everyone else drives. I guess it’s too hot to walk in the outback even during March, unless you’re a tourist.

      Reply
      • The Idiot December 29, 2014, 6:31 pm

        Yep, in Australia. Yeah I think a lot of people drive in the hotter climates up north, though I have some sympathy given the 40+ temps. I’m in one of the cooler ones so summer is like 20 and on a hot day 25.

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  • Tyler December 27, 2014, 7:27 pm

    I enjoy walking in the rain/snow. Seems to restore some primal instincts lost sitting on a comfy couch in a warm house. I do get some strange looks, and even a few offers for a ride. I guess people can’t believe someone would WANT to go for a walk in the rain.

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  • HappinessSavouredHot December 28, 2014, 6:58 am

    I live in Canada. I must admit I find winter hard. You would think that after all those years, I would have become used to it, but apparently no! (I think living in Africa for 3 years just downright spoiled me.) In any case, the one thing that helps me feel good about the winter is running. I have seen wonderful landscapes (and starry skies) while running in the winter. And it makes the weather feel about 10 degrees warmer, which is a welcome sensation when it’s below freezing point! Thanks for writing this.

    Reply
  • Mal December 28, 2014, 11:02 am

    Hi MMM,
    I couldn’t agree more. We were in DC for the whole week and all we did was walk in the cold! Family asked us why we were going there of all the ‘sunny’ places and we said it is in our budget and winter will always be winter. So my husband and my 2-yr old daughter had an amazing adventure with all the free museums the Capital had to offer us! :-) Go out there and enjoy the cold and who knows you might even break out a sweat!

    Reply
  • Doug December 28, 2014, 3:48 pm

    I don’t bike in the winter (yes, wuss factor here) but do walk a lot to get around, even in the very cold weather. I just dress for the weather and go, it’s that simple. The activity of walking generates heat, which offsets the heat loss to the cold. I should tell you that as a kid I was a wussy type who hated the cold weather, and was pretty much useless at sports and physical education. Hey, if someone like me can handle the colder weather it really can’t be that bad!

    Reply
  • Bailey December 28, 2014, 8:34 pm

    Just reading through the comments. I’m a mostly silent reader here. Just had to let you all know that after a balmy couple of weeks here where I live, North of the 49 and almost smack dab in the centre of Canada, our temps outside tonight are -38 C . Just some info -40C = -40F. I did take the dog for a walk albeit a brief walk. If I’d been alone I could’ve walked longer as I was dressed for it. My girl had her boots on but she won’t tolerate a scarf around her muzzle. It was invigorating to say the least and it was nice to get some bloody fresh air.

    Reply
  • Gbone December 28, 2014, 8:53 pm

    Watch Happy People: A Year in the Taiga for some badass winter mustachianism

    Reply
  • Alisa December 29, 2014, 12:30 pm

    Now, I completely understand that our winters are no where near as severe as most of you seeing as how I am in South Texas. However, we deal with 110 degree days all summer long, so there’s that. Anyways. I am a runner and I cannot tell you how much more enjoyable it is to run in our recent 30 degree weather, than during the summers at 80 degrees. I feel healthier, more alert, and generally happier running in the cold. And I’ve found that I actually enjoy running in the dark much more, so I should probably purchase some sort of reflectors. Oh, and I don’t buy the argument about the cold giving you colds. I actually get less sick when I’m out in cold weather than I do during our summer. My toddler has been fighting a nasty cough the past few days and the only thing that help her breathe better is taking her out in the cold air.

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  • Pat Parrillo December 30, 2014, 8:28 am

    Totally agree that winter walks are great. However, it can sometimes be difficult to get out of the warm house and out there. I have found that getting creative and adding a little spice can help. That spice being go for a snowshoe or maybe cross country ski. Similar exercise but more exciting or exotic if you will. Nothing is better than a quite winter walk with the snow insulating all the sound. Can be very relaxing. Shoveling the driveway aint too bad either.

    Reply
  • M from Loveland December 30, 2014, 8:01 pm

    Hi MMM!!!, happy Holidays for you and your family, and all the MMM readers!!!

    It took me more than a year, but today I finally finished reading all your posts, including this one.
    I must say that I’m a Consumer Sucka, but entering the MMM Rehab :). I’m determine to do some changes to improve my financial situation. Hopefully my husband will follow me on the way, though is gonna be tough (he’s a more Consumer Sucka than me).
    Anyways, thanks for all the great posts and financial advices. Looking forward for the next Colorado MMM meeting ( we don’t leave too far away!!!)

    M from Loveland

    Reply
  • David December 31, 2014, 9:30 am

    Another nice thing to experience is the sound of snow falling on the ground during a winter walk. It makes that beautiful put-put-put sound as each flake hits the snow and is louder at night because fewer people are out driving.

    And …wearing a cozy, down jacket is so much nicer than being drenched with sweat in a warmer clime.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to MMM! Thanks for the nice article.

    Reply
  • Darren December 31, 2014, 9:34 am

    I think my comment is the exact opposite of what you are saying, but is in the right spirit of enjoying the season.
    I enjoy getting out in the winter time and breathing in the brisk cold air (I have a well worn pair of snow shoes to prove it), but I also really enjoy hunkering down. In the past, when people couldn’t just flip on twenty lights and a forced-air heating system, they hunkered down in the winter around the fire. It was a time for a long nights sleep and story telling and games. One of the best winters I ever spent was in Japan during the New Year’s holiday sitting around a kotatsu (a table with a heating element under it with a blanket over to keep in the warmth) playing traditional games and talking. It was the only source of heat in the room and everybody came together around it.
    So enjoy your outdoors like MMM says but don’t forget some of the other joys of winter, rest and companionship.

    Reply
    • biketokyo January 8, 2015, 4:46 am

      Darren, Reading the comments on this post I was getting all nostalgic for good cold snowy winters in the Midwest. Ones where it is also warm inside. Here in Tokyo it never gets cold or dry enough to feel brisk, just a slightly damp chill–the SAme temperature inside as out. But we do have kotatsu. Thanks for the reminder of how special it is. :)

      Reply
  • Meg December 31, 2014, 12:35 pm

    My nights on my couch knitting heavyweight sweaters, mittens, hats and scarves are what let me spend time enjoying the outdoors in winter. Walking to work + coat = miserable. Walking to work + coat + handknit wool cardigan = delight!

    Reply

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