I've eluded in a past post that "the weather" is not a good reason to not get outside (most of the time). We get good at using that as an excuse for sure, but more times than not, it's NOT the weather itself.
Now I'll be the first one to clients (and myself) that there ARE absolutely days where Mother Nature is pissed off at something, and it would be safer for you to find an alternative activity for the day. Days where there's high winds, ice storms, icey roads/sidewalks, hail, thunderstorms etc... Other days that are less than ideal, are great times to dress appropriately and just GET OUTSIDE and move!! It's NOT as bad as you've made it out to be in your head from your cozy, temperature controlled living room, as you stare out the window creating reasons to NOT go out....
Dr Greg Wells reminds us; "There's not bad weather, just bad clothes". I agree, as I said, in most weather situations. Yesterday was a prime example of dressing appropriately, and just getting out there!! Let me share the adventure...
I was done work and heading home for lunch, when unexpectedly we were facing massive snowflakes falling and very dark skies. It was a Christmas snow in mid-February and completely not called for!! I walked home and had my flannel winter jacket (my outdoorsy lumberjack type coat - which I love). My walk is 3-4min at most, and by the time I got home I looked like the abomindable snowman!! I was covered in snow sticking to my jacket, toque, pants etc... Wild! A beautiful snow, but heavy. Everything was white within minutes (myself included. I felt like this little guy.... LOL
Anyway, my plan before witnessing all of this was to go home for lunch, and get a nice long walk in. I was aiming to do my "Stockdale" loop, which is about 7.5km and a nice walk. Shortly after lunch, the snow had stopped and the sun was out. I got ready, and headed out.
Thankfully I chose to wear my other winter jacket (think ski jacket type) which is definitely more waterproof if we ended up with more unexpected snow on my walk. Little did I know what I was about to go through over the next hour and a bit.
-I headed up our main road toward Stockdale under the sun and blue skies. About halfway to my turn (just over 2km) I was thinking to myself "maybe I need to take my jacket off!?". It was like spring weather warmth, ya know? Beautiful!
The sides of the main road was very snowy and slushy in parts from the snowfall a bit ago, but nothing extreme. Annoying at times, but not bad.
-I turned onto Stockdale road and headed down the hill towards the bridge and old mill. I chatted with a friendly older gentleman for a quick minute as I went by him, while he was trying to shovel away some of the standing water at the end of his driveway (there was alot as the sun was melting the snow that had just fallen quite quickly). Less than a kilometre, and just over the bridge, I turned onto Maybee rd (my favourite stretch of this loop).
-Maybee road has few houses, tons of nature and farm fields. There's always so many birds, animal tracks etc to check out along your walk. Not far onto maybe road (about 4km into the loop), you go around a bend at a beautiful farm property onto the straight (yet hilly) stretch of Maybee rd towards my next turning point. This is where the adventure really began. Here's an idea for you:
I've drawn an 'x' right around that bend in the road and the 4km mark. From there to the following 'x' (a span of just under 2km), I experienced 3 out of 4 seasons!!!! It was crazy!
-Turning onto this road, the sky was clouding over but nothing too much. By that 4km mark it was quite dark again, and began to spit.
-Not a few minutes later, it's now raining. I put my hood up (if I had worn my flannel jacket that wouldn't have been possible! And I would've been soaked for sure!)
-A few minutes later, it's now turned to a soft hail...
-It picks up in intensity, but thankfully it wasn't hard hail (that would've hurt!)
-Then the soft hail like precipitation changes to snow. Starting with wet smaller flakes, and progressing into the giant, fluffy Christmas-type flakes like we had only a while before!
-As I come up over the smaller hill, I'm now exposed from the West as it's farm fields on either side of me (but no trees blocking the wind from the West). At this point now, the snow is sideways. The clouds are dark. The temperature is definitely cooler than it was earlier in the walk when I considered taking my jacket off.
-As I came up over the last hill before my turn onto March St. (part way between kilometre 5-6 in the picture), I thought to myself; "Ok, the wind will at least be at my back on the home stretch down March St. But if it keeps up like this, I'll pop into the woods (that I often frequent each week off March st) and hike through there to get back to the trail that leads me home. That way I'd at least be sheltered in the trees." Brilliant, I must say.
-But by the time I hit that second 'x' I marked on the map for you to see, the snow and wind were calming down. "What a weird day" I thought. "Maybe I won't need to pop into the woods afterall".
-From the 6km mark to home, I was walking under blue skies and sunshine again. My hood was down and Mother Nature had finished her temper tantrum.
What's your point Coach???
My point is simple that I want to make...I "survived". "I lived to tell the tale!"
Was it my favourite walk in the past while? No.
Was I cold or uncomfortable? No (because I dressed appropriately).
Was it so bad I "don't want to experience it again"? No.
I not only got outside and moved my body, I also spent time in "less than ideal" conditions. That's a BIG boost in our modern society and it's a big boost to your health practices when you do so. When you choose to practice NOT finding a reason to NOT do something, you learn how to make the best and get the most of these kinds of days/situations. On another note, there are so many people who miss out on so much beauty and amazing nature around us, it makes me feel sad. The beauty and warmth for example of the sunshine and blue sky, following the strangest 2km of weather in a long time, is something you can't describe... you can only experience and feel!
In gradually putting yourself in "less than ideal" or "uncomfortable" situations (physically and mentally) when it comes to our exercise, we become more able to adapt to the stresses that are put on us. This allows us to do more and experience more, both in our exercise and in our daily lives! It also reminds us that there's "no such thing as perfect". If you're waiting for "ideal conditions" you will NEVER be able to create a sustainble and consistant practice for yourself.
Be smart about things.
Always be safe.
And at the same time - JUST DO IT!