10 Ways to Get Some Fresh Air

Dog walking

Sure, it’s cold outside — and it will remain so for a while. The best thing is to venture out and get some needed fresh air

By Melissa Stefanec

running in the coldWe Upstate New Yorkers tend to romanticize it when the first snow falls. But by the time we are two or three months into snowy weather, a lot of us start going stir-crazy. Most of us want out, but not everyone skis, snowshoes or snowboards. So, when the winds and snow are blowing, how do you get some much-needed fresh air in your lungs? Here are some ideas:

1. Take the dog for a real walk

Your dog is likely in need of fresh air and exercise just as much as you are. Instead of just sending your four-legged friend out for a potty break, hit the pavement or trails with the dog. You will both appreciate the change of pace.

2. Trim the trees

Literally. Winter is great time to trim back shrubs and trees. With many plants bare-limbed, trimming is easier than when leaves abound in the summer and fall. Just be careful when climbing ladders or stools during icy conditions.

3. Take a winter hike

If you have a favorite summer hike that features relatively flat terrain, try that hike during the winter. Wear a pair of winter boots with good tread or wear crampons. You may gain a new appreciation for your favorite trail.

4. Help a neighbor in need

Most of us know someone who could use a hand with outdoor maintenance during the winter months. Whether that person is elderly, time-strapped or differently abled, there are opportunities to help people in your neighborhood. You can lend a hand by shoveling snow, moving trash cans or snowblowing. You will feel better when you get moving and commit an act of kindness.

5. Take a lunchtime walk

If you are prone to afternoon burnout, sneaking out for a lunchtime walk might be just the solution you are looking for. Instead of spending your lunch break catching up on emails, chatting or surfing the web, rejuvenate yourself outside during the daylight hours.

6. Find a walking buddy

If you are having trouble finding the motivation to walk, employ the buddy system. Most people are more motivated to work out when they have a standing obligation to meet someone. Having a buddy can help you through rough patches. When you set goals as a team, they are more likely to happen.

7. Shovel

Hear this one out. Shoveling is difficult and time consuming, but it’s also a great way to burn some calories while getting fresh air. Instead of breaking out the snowblower during a light snow, break out your shovel. It’s amazing how warm a cold winter day feels after an invigorating shoveling session.

8. Join the kids

Kids get it right a lot of the time, and their attitude toward getting out in the snow is no exception. When the kids in your life head outside to play in the snow, follow them. If they don’t want to go out, motivate them to join you. It’s hard to be cold and miserable when you are laughing and having a good time.

9. Install some birdfeeders

Place bird feeders at several points in your yard. This will force you to go out and restock them. Even getting five minutes of sunlight during the winter can vastly improve your mood. Give yourself something to look after, and in turn you will look after yourself. As an added bonus, you get the beauty of winter bird watching.

10. Running

With a few precautions, you can keep up a running regimen during the winter. Invest in trail-running shoes or something similar with good tread. Try to run during the day and look for places that are well-maintained and regularly cleared of snow. It feels very liberating to head out in the winter without a giant winter jacket on.