Winter is not bleak when you step outdoors; there is a whole wealth of beauty waiting to be found during the cold, wet, and sometimes snowy, season. As tempting as it is to wrap up under a blanket, sip a hot chocolate and snuggle in front of a fire, if you take a moment each day to go outdoors you will experience many beautiful things and also better your health.
The New Year has started and now is a prime time to take that step and start enjoying what the outdoors has to offer. We want to encourage all to Do More this year – there are many ways to explore and be active outdoors, without having to walk 3 peaks or run a marathon, to become healthy and happy.
Embrace the wild weather!
During winter we can experience such a range of weather – from dramatic storms, gales and lashings of rain, to silent snowfall which veils the landscape in a glistening white blanket. From one day to the next, you never quite know what you will wake up to. This is where being outdoors is fun. Remember as a child the love of splashing in deep puddles, running through mud and then jumping at flashes of lighting in the dark sky? As adults we can become inclined to worry about getting dirty or cold, and we risk losing the shear enjoyment of the simple things.
Don’t worry – just a bit of prep and you can cast those worries aside! Here at Nikwax we focus on keeping people safe, warm and dry for even the wildest weather – so you can live for the pleasures instead. We have products to suit all outdoor gear, so you have no excuse not to front up to the weather and enjoy this season.
Find local walking routes
Take a stroll round areas local to you that you have not visited or even knew of before. Find an off-road walking route – step through fields away from houses and life, find streams to splash through, wildlife to spot, and muddy pathways to navigate. You stop and take a breath and realise you are not thinking about everyday chores or routines, but instead feel revitalised and relaxed. This is also perfect with children – no need to travel far and you can tailor the distance to suit everybody’s needs.
Jenny Tough, endurance athlete, took part in the #DoMoreWithNikwax summer challenge and she has some good advice on taking those steps outdoors:
The most important thing is just to start. Don’t be hard on yourself if you’re not in great shape right now. Doing a little is way more than doing nothing. So just start – start small, start slow, but start!
Websites, such as the Ramblers, provide listings of routes all over the UK and you can decide what `difficulty` level you are after when searching for something suitable. This is a great place to start if you want to begin getting outdoors gently and perhaps eventually build up to harder walks. Take a look here
Plus, there is no need to fear that you will return home from a walk with soggy, cold feet if you have pre-cleaned your footwear with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel. Its formula removes all dirt, which can lead to water being absorbed, and it revives the water repellency of your shoes or boots – which in turns means that muddy puddle splashing is no consequence when your feet still feel dry, comfy and supported in the terrain you are in.
Explore new places
Being outdoors does not have to mean walking up steep hills, or just being completely remote amongst nature. Sometimes nature can be found in unexpected places! If you prefer a bit more of the everyday when being outdoors then mix things up a bit. Locations such as Dungeness in the South-East can give a new perspective on landscape. Known for its imposing nuclear power station dominating the horizon on one side and array of unique properties scattering the shingle, Dungeness is like stepping onto a different planet. You could while away a day here and be so engrossed in everything around you, that you don’t realise how much exercise you are getting from walking around!
This is a highly protected conservation area (one designation for it is National Nature Reserve) and this is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, a third of the plant species in Britain is here and the strange variety of vegetation growing in and around the shingle is fascinating. There is rare birdlife to spot – so take a walk along the shore line to see if you can spot any water birds out on the waves. Plus, there are also rare insects which can only be found in this location, including the short-haired bumblebee which was introduced here back in 2012.
Locations like this, where the mix of industrial meets human habitation, which meets such varied plant, bird and insect life, can be truly inspiring and interesting whatever the weather.
With coastal winds and fog likely to be prominent in such a location during winter, then windproofs and waterproofs are a must. You don’t want to feel too cold when a biting sea wind hits and in such an exposed area then layering is a must in order to enjoy your experience.
Prepare your warming and body temperature regulating base layers with BaseWash. As next-to-skin clothing can collect a build-up of body oils, they can start to smell after a while and normal detergent will only mask the smell whilst impairing the wicking properties. Not good if you start to feel warm when being active and find yourself damp because the sweat is not wicking away and the garment is not drying quick enough! BaseWash cleans and conditions, and its technical formula prevents odour build up. The wicking properties are revitalised so sweat disperses easily and fabrics dry much faster. This means your next-to-skin clothing is breathable and comfortable to ensure you can maintain the required body temperature when out and about.
The outer waterproof layers need a bit of love from Tech Wash! Washing wet weather gear with Tech Wash removes all dirt that has built up from use and the durable water repellent coating is revived. This means you could brave the spray whipping back from the waves, or any rain shower, and remain nicely warm and dry. Only when Tech Wash no longer revives the durable water repellency on its own should you then look to re-proof your wet weather gear with TX. Direct – the high performance waterproofer which keeps your gear as good as new!
You can go and explore exposed locations safe in the knowledge you can walk away comfortable, dry and safe from whatever the weather may throw at you!
Other reasons to Do More Outdoors!
- Walking is a great way to lower and maintain your weight, reduce blood pressure and generally lift your mood. You can start off slowly – 15-30 minutes a day and in a short space of time you will find you can build this up quite a lot!
- Although not as warm, getting out in the winter sun still provides much needed vitamin D which is essential for our health. A crisp winter’s sunny day is a beautiful time to be outside – just keep warm in layers.
- Walking does not cost anything – what more reason do you need to get outside – have fun, loads to experience, but nothing to pay to do so.
- How do you get motivated to Do More Outdoors when it’s cold and dark in winter? Jenny Tough offers the following: I think it’s okay to take some rest. We can’t be 10/10 all year long – it’s just not sustainable. I use these cold, dark, wet days to sleep a little more and let my body and energy rebuild before another season starts. I still get out for runs and rides, bundled up with really good warm layers and waterproofs, but it’s okay if those sessions are a little shorter or slower.
Remember to check out the Nikwax product page – for all the aftercare you will need to keep you warmer, safer and drier outdoors. We love the outdoors, we care for the outdoors, and we want all of you to truly experience the outdoors.
All of our products are safe for you and the environment: they are water-based, contain no PFCs or harmful substances. Our products are easy to use: either pop in a washing machine or use by hand. Nikwax products protect you in all weather and will help your outdoor gear have a much longer useable lifespan.
Now what are you waiting for – take on winter and step outside!