How to Thrive During a Michigan Winter

November 11, 2016

Michigan winters are cold. They’re snowy too. It’s possible to not only survive, but thrive, when the temperatures drop and snow flies. Here’s some tips for enjoying winter in The Mitten State.

Wear Proper Winter Clothing

There’s no question, the most uncomfortable part about winter is being cold. But there’s no reason to suffer. Thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever to stay warm and dry. Start with a good base layer. And we’re not talking about your grandmother’s long underwear. High tech fabrics great at moisture-wicking and drying fast. Experts recommend clothing that incorporates natural fibers, like Merino wool, for the best breathability and warmth.

After the base layer, you’ll need an insulating layer. This keeps your body heat close to your skin. Fleece jackets and wool sweaters are great for this. If it’s really cold, cover up with a lightweight, down filled jacket.

Cutting the wind and keeping water out is the job of your final layer. Here again modern fabrics that are breathable, but waterproof, are best. You want any moisture from sweat to evaporate, because your clothes can’t keep you warm if they’re wet. Look for a top layer made of Gor-Tex or eVent.

If you plan on playing in the snow, you’ll want a pair of ski pants or snow pants to keep your legs dry. That’s right, snow pants aren’t just for little kids on the playground.

Finally, you need to make sure your extremities are warm and dry. Toes, fingers and ears are the first parts of the body to succumb to frostbite. Wool socks and insulated boots, tall enough to keep deep snow out, will make sure your feet stay toasty. Look for waterproof gloves that keep your hands dry when cleaning snow off your car and sidewalk.

Of course, you’ll need to top it off with a hat. For years we heard a hat prevents the loss of body heat through your head. It turns out that’s a myth. Your hat’s job is really to protect your ears. So make sure you choose one that keeps them covered up.

Nourish Your Body with Healthy Foods

Your body has to work harder in the winter to keep you warm, so you need fuel it with good foods. Healthy carbs will give you the energy you need. Think whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Sweet potatoes and squash are great choices for winter dishes. Healthy carbs also boost serotonin production, a chemical that regulates mood and prevents the winter blues. In the winter, lack of sunlight lowers the body’s ability to make serotonin. A well-balanced diet also keeps your immune system in good working order. That will help you fight off all those nasty colds and flu that go around every winter.

Get Outdoor Exercise

Like good nutrition, exercise in the winter increases energy, elevates mood and boosts immunity. Getting your exercise outdoors will also help you take advantage of any rare winter sunshine. This is actually the best part about winter in Michigan. There’s so much to do outside when the snow flies. If taking a walk or hike is your thing, give snowshoeing a try. For something more thrilling, hit the ski slopes or grab a snowboard. Fishing doesn’t have to stop. Diehard anglers grab an auger and go ice fishing. Feel the need for speed? Michigan has one of the country’s largest networks of snowmobile trails. You can also head to the local ice rink and practice your triple toe loop or join a pick-up hockey game. Finally, grab a sled and race downhill with the neighborhood kids.

Layer up, get outside and see just how fun a Michigan winter can be.

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Avatar for Colleen Stout