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Remember last year when we used to do all our socialising on the trot? We could be back there soon, which is why it’s important to be prepared, writes Strong Women editor Miranda Larbi.

Now that the Omicron grinch is well and truly here, it looks like tighter Covid restrictions are just round the corner. It’s not just that we might be working from home and face mask-ing for longer; indoor socialising may be about to get scrapped too. And you know what that means: back to meeting people for walks and catch-ups on park benches.

We’ve all been here before but this time around, we’ve got to be prepared. Fool us once into thinking we can meet a pal for a three hour stroll in a light jacket and no gloves; fool us twice and we probably deserve to get frostbite. Those social walks come with a number of pros and cons, and here are just some of them.

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It’s a chance to showcase your best outerwear

Let’s face it: winterwear doesn’t get the praise it deserves. We come inside, sling off our fabulous puffers and home-knit scarves and that’s it. On a walk, you can wear those outer layers with pride.

But it’s bloody freezing… and weirdly mild

Last year, we went on walks in jackets and bobble hats and within an hour, realised that our fingers were paralysed with cold. It’s winter, so you’ve got to bring layers and then prepare for the inevitable strip mid-park when you start breaking into a sweat.

Walking beats working out alone

Forget early morning gym workouts alone; walking has so many health benefits and this is your chance to combine socialising, mental health and exercise under one convenient umbrella.

But you could end up walking for miles and miles

The key is not to underestimate just how much strain walking can have on the body. You definitely can get DOMS from walking, especially if you’re meeting mates day after day.

All the best gossip comes out on the trot…

It’s a well-known fact that people are more open and honest when they’re distracted. Ask those juicy questions on a walk and you won’t have to wait two hours until the other person is plastered to get an equally juicy reply.

… even if can get a bit intense

Saying that, there’s very little room for small talk on a walk. Sure, you might see a cool duck or crocus but it’s a lot more intense than a pub chat. 

You get to explore new areas

Whether you’ve travelled to meet someone or you’ve arranged to walk around your local park, there’s nothing like a stroll for discovering new things.

If you make it round while it’s still light

Just don’t forget that parks close before 6pm and it’s pitch-dark by 5pm.

Walks inevitably mean nice, local coffee

Is a walk even a walk unless you’ve stopped off at some cute, overpriced little cafe for an oat latte?

Because the pubs are only doing takeaway

However much of a thirst you’ve worked up, there’s absolutely nothing worse than a takeaway pint in winter. Alcohol is something best drunk inside/ensconced in a beer garden and nothing more.

Which is why walking is much cheaper than a regular meet-up

Think about how much you spend when you go to see your mates. Dinner costs a bomb, drinks inevitably escalate, in-house coffee dates inevitable lead to umpteen pastries to soak up the caffeine. Walks are free, and even if you do stop off to buy refreshments, it’s probably cheaper than in-house activities.

Fundamentally, walks with mates are great – if you’re prepared for them. And while we dread to think of pubs and restaurants shutting again, go on enough walks and by the time everything is back open, and you’ll have both the money and the thirst/hunger to set the hospitality sector back on its feet in no time.

Looking for a Covid-safe activity? Check out our library of home workouts, over on the Strong Women Training Club.

Images: Getty

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