Pros and Cons of Walking to Work in Sub-Freezing Weather

Today, I walked to work. It was 21 degrees when I left the house, bundled in my down jacket, earmuffs and gloves. On a sunny summer day, my walk to work, about three quarters of a mile, usually takes about twenty-five minutes.

There are many positive aspects to walking to work, but far more if you are walking to work in this kind of weather. Some of them are as follows:

1. The likelihood of being mugged diminishes with lower temperatures. It is a well known fact that the crime rate decreases every time we are subjected to an Alberta Clipper.

2. The pace of walking increases with the decrease in temperature, thus boosting the cardio benefits. I made it to work in less than twenty minutes.

3. The chance of you seeing another human being at all is highly unlikely, therefore eliminating the need to smile, wave or say “good morning” to passers-by.

The cons include:

1. While the ears and torso are warm, the legs will be frozen sticks by the time you get to your destination. This is because jeans are not a good insulator, unless you have flannel-lined jeans. I had flannel-lined jeans, but gave them to Goodwill because they were “mom” jeans and not very flattering to my butt. I have very flattering flannel lined pants from J. Crew, but they are in the wash.

2. An ear muff will not protect your cheeks from the elements. However, a ski mask makes you look like you’re about to rob a bank. Fashion statements come well in advance of comfort.

3. Your toes will be tiny frozen pearls in your shoes.

4. It’s appealing to warm up at the local McDonald’s or Starbucks’ but doing so will cause a slow down in your pace.

5. Gold earrings will make your ear lobes colder.

My closing thoughts: even the coldest car will be warmer than a walk to work.


7 Responses

  1. Here’s what you do…you need one of those wildly unfashionable sweater coats. I have one for walking the munchkin to school in the AM. Now, granted, never gonna be that cold here. But it makes a serious amount of difference in the warmth of my jean-clad legs. Also?one of those scarves that’s made out of the eyelash yarn, good for covering your throat and pulling on up over your head without making you look like you’re going to rob a bank.

  2. Okay, if there is no one out to see you being unfashionable, why does it matter?

    I say walk to work in unfashionable attire. No one will see you and no one will care. Then when you get to work, change.

    Gee, what a concept!

  3. 21 is cold? That’s warm.

    I have flannel lined jeans. I don’t really like them much either.

    I also have silk long underwear. They are the best thing ever. My kids wear theirs around the house just ’cause.

    You are right. Fashion always matters. The thing to do is pick your hats carefully. For medium cold weather I have a hat with ear-flaps and strings that I can tie in a knot on top of my head so that I look like an alien freak. For evil cold weather I have a bright red balaclava.

  4. Yep, silk long underwear (well, really, silk anything) is awesome. Almost as good as fur.

  5. It helps to be hardy. I am not.

  6. Put on pantyhose under those jeans. They work almost as well as long johns, keep your toes warmer, and won’t mess up your fashion statement.

  7. Too cold outside? Then get your walking done indoors while your work. I stumbled onto something that makes me healthier in my office. It is a treadmill desk. I walk all day at work and no I do not sweat! I do burn about 900-1200 calories a day though and it keeps me from every feeling sleeply. I made my own but have found a product called TrekDesk which seems to be the most affordable option out there. You can read about it at

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