Get outside (more on Rule #3: Move by 3 p.m.)

This week in the Tranquility by Tuesday Challenge we’re focusing on Rule #3: Move by 3 p.m. Getting ten minutes of physical activity in the first half of every single day can do wonders for the average person’s mood and energy levels.

That physical activity can be anything, but if it’s possible, getting that activity outside is a bonus. Just as physical activity is a known mood booster, fresh air is a known mood booster too, so combining the two is particularly magical.

I know lots of people are aiming to get 23 minutes outside each day in 2023 as part of Gretchen Rubin’s challenge. People who’ve read TBT will recall Amy Bushatz’s goal of being outside for 20 minutes a day (she’s done it for years!)

Getting outside is an easy goal if you’re at the beach in lovely weather. It’s a less easy goal if the weather was like it was this past weekend in much of the northeastern U.S. We dipped into single digits overnight with some significant wind. The mountains in New Hampshire posted some new record wind chills!

You probably should skip the outside time in well-under-zero (Fahrenheit*) weather. But! If it’s simply under zero Celsius…that is a different matter.

Or at least that’s what I told myself this past weekend. I’d planned my weekend long run for Saturday morning, which dawned at about 11 degrees. I am not really a cold weather person at all. I have some circulation issues, and when my temperature drops quickly or I get wet I can start shivering a lot and breaking out in hives (fun!). But if I’m bundled up and prepared I can manage it.

I moved things forward two hours or so and started running at 9:50 a.m., when it was a balmy 16 degrees. And it turned out to really not be that bad! I wore a wool long underwear top under a winter running jacket, and I wore my fleece Athleta pants. I had an ear covering, and a little neck covering, plus gloves. Once I got started that made me more than comfortable (it helped that it was sunny, and the wind had died down). Later that afternoon, my husband and I went for a walk when it was a downright tropical 25 degrees. I put hand-warmers in my pockets and with normal winter gear we were fine outside for an hour.

If you manage to get physical activity outside in extreme weather (cold, heat, wet) I’d love to hear how you manage it. What gear do you use? (Or, if dealing with heat, maybe it’s about changing the time of day?).

*Turns out I had been spelling this word wrong.

8 thoughts on “Get outside (more on Rule #3: Move by 3 p.m.)

  1. My favourite way to get daily exercise is by walking the kids to school. The first year both my kiddos were at the same elementary school we walked almost every day the whole year. Alas, the last two years have been more hit-and-miss. But we still AIM to do it more days than not. One way or another I have to get the kids to school, and walking provides everyone some doable, but quasi-intensive (we walk briskly for 20 minutes) exercise before 8 am. And, on the days my husband can join, we extend our return route and fit in 30 minutes of time together to talk, plan, etc.

    Gear matters so much regardless of season. I have snow pants, leather snowmobiling gloves, and several great cold-weather jackets. For the warmer months, having a visor (I often wear my hair up in buns, so a visor makes it so much easier to shade my face from the sun) and good, comfortable sneakers are a must.

    It was -40C here this weekend which happens to be where our temperature scales align! (So it was also -40 Fahrenheit.) Brrr.

  2. My plan for this rule was outside time at lunch, as morning exercise is baked into my commute. Today, I asked a pal if she wanted to take a lunchtime walk as a work break, and we had a lovely walk around a walled garden and along the river. So I’ve cycled 5 miles and walked 3 today, with 3 more to go when I do the school run.

    I’m in Scotland where it’s often wet and windy, but not a tremendous amount of snow. My cycling gear consists of a cycling cape, which has straps that can go round your legs to keep it down – it keeps me dry to my knees and I can layer a heavier coat or puffer under it, good winter cycling gloves, and cycling ear muffs that go under my helmet. And a good light set-up. If it’s wet, I’ll put my son in waterproof trousers over his school uniform pants (luckily just black leggings, stretchy pants), but I’ll just get wet and change when I get home.

    I’m similar if I get cold – I have an electric blanket at home, but sometimes I just need to hop in a hot shower. I’m not naturally disposed to WFH, but an afternoon shower is a definite WFH perk.

  3. I subscribe to the ‘no bad weather, just poor clothing choices’ mentality (within reason…no way am I bundling up for the -106 windchills that Mt. Washington saw this weekend!). I HATE hot weather (would be happy if I never saw 80 or above) and love the cold because you can almost always enjoy it with the right gear. For winter running, I do a good baselayer on top, plus 1-2 more layers, fleece lined tights (x2 if really cold), wool knee socks, a neck buff, ear warmer under a hat, sunglasses (if it’s snowing or windy – gotta keep the eyes clear!), and gloves inside of wool mittens. I’ve run down to -5 F (real temp, plus whatever the windchill is) and been just fine, especially once moving. Sometimes the bigger challenge is keeping the hydration pack or water bottle from freezing! (spoiler: a splash of vodka helps, per my ultra trail runner friends)

    I’m willing to do all that for cold, but heat and humidity are the worst. THE WORST. I have yet to find the solution to dealing with hot weather…

  4. It was -30 Celsius a few days last week, so it gets very cold where I live. I still have to go on my daily walk, which does not include walking the dog or walking my kids to school (I do those things too but still need a walk that’s just for me). I survive by wearing wool base layers followed by a sweater and warm pants, wool socks, and all the appropriate outerwear. I frequently preach on the importance of a scarf. If your neck and chin area are exposed, you’ll be cold no matter what. To be honest, I’m frequently too warm on my walks.

  5. I’ve decided to give myself a pass on 23 in ‘23 if it’s below 0F. I know I could go outside but I don’t really feel the benefit when it’s that freaking cold! I tried it one day last week and it was just so awful and unpleasant. Plus I take my walks at work and I don’t want to bring snow pants and such when I am already hauling a laptop, lunch, etc! But above 0F is not bad overall and I’ve done a lot of runs in that kind of weather this winter!

  6. I feel like a Superhero when I go walking in the extreme cold! It doesn’t have to be long – but it’s like a swim in cold water – it just feels amazing and crazy!

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