Although ice and snow are my favorite elements, ice bathing is not my world. Diving in cold water after the sauna also seems too aggressive for my body. When extreme temperatures change too quickly, my circulation sometimes collapses. But what supports my health is a short Kneipp cure in the snow. This year you didn’t need to go far. There was enough snow laying on the balcony or terrace for days. And winter is not over yet.

The effect of STEPPING ON and through the SNOW is enormous and has a long-term effect: the blood circulation is stimulated immediately, the feet warm up quickly after you have finished stepping on the snow and remain so for a long time. On the one hand, the circulation is boosted and tiredness disappears by itself. On the other hand, such rituals strengthen the immune system and leave cold viruses hardly a chance any more. Pastor Sebastian Kneipp discovered the benefits of rapid temperature changes on the organism. So Kneipp was not just a naturopathologist, but in the truest sense a hydrotherapist. Already in the middle of the 19th century, he was sending his patients through cold water. Especially in winter, when our immune defense is weakened, stepping through water, over snow and dew is a good and easy-to-use measure to bring our immune system into shape and to put an end to unpleasant cold symptoms. Treading snow is the alternative to treading water; especially since many Kneipp pools are pumped empty in winter.

Snow stepping is a short but powerful proposition. At first, a minute is completely sufficient, after all, you don’t want to catch a cold or even get a bladder / kidney infection. I like it when the outside temperature is a maximum of -3 degrees and the sun is shining. Just get out of shoes and stockings right before you step in the icy water oron the snow.

Please be careful with snow that is too hard or snow that has frozen overnight. There is a risk of slipping here! An ideal terrain for trampling on snow is a meadow that is free from road salt and on which the snow is not frozen solid or even showes sharp edges. You don’t need a lot of space, just a few square meters are enough to walk in circles for one upto five minutes. Always keep moving and use your arms if necessary, for example in circular movements. Because it is important that the body and feet do not feel uncomfortably cold. At the latest when the toes start to hurt and get red, the exercise should be over.

Snow or dew, this is how it works:

  • Remove your feet from shoes and socks just before you start off.
  • When stepping, lift your leg completely out of the snow so that the air can touch the soles of your feet. Repeat it until there is a slight reddening.
  • Walk through the fresh snow for a maximum of 5 minutes. 1 minute is enough for beginners.
  • Then slip into woolen socks with damp feet, put on shoes and walk for a few more minutes.
  • If there is no snow, simply step on the dew. This has the same effect as stepping on the snow but duration times three. This means that beginners walk for a maximum of three minutes over a hoarfrost or thaw meadow; advanced Kneipp users practice a barefoot run for up to 10-12 minutes.

I simply enjoy it, winter fitness comes naturally.

Even if all leisure sports facilities are/ were closed in the Corona winter, nature still had a delicacy surprise for me.

After the early onset of winter with plenty of snow in early January, there was a brief thaw in early February. Not only creaks and rivers caused floods, but also some of the lower lying meadows were flooded or the water pressed through in compensation areas behind dykes and bank reinforcements. Then there was a second cold wave and created some idyllic OPEN AIR ICE SURFACES;  which are much nicer than the plein roundabouts in conventional ice arenas.

Of course, caution is essential, especially if you do not know the location and the height of water level. In any case, wait for at least  5-6 days of heavy frost, because you should not step on open ice surfaces with an ice sickness less than 10-15 centimeters (screwdriver test). You should also be aware that natural ice is often very uneven, cracked and contaminated with foliage and it is therefore more difficult to slide on it than planed, smooth artificial ice. If there is also snow on the surface, you can hardly see high-risk areas and the danger of falling is above average. For safety reasons it is best to always to skate in company.

Why am I you telling this? I started ice skating at the age of four and spent thousands of hours training on it, but I never had the opportunity to take part in a nature event like the “Eleventh Cities Tour” in the Netherlands. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elfstedentocht

Although I was invited 2-3 times to show-skatings on romantic forest lakes, I have never been able to slide through an ice forest similar to the Spreewald. At the last minute  I was able to fulfill myself this yearold wish just eleven days ago. Let’s enter the ice, here we go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS8XpSM7nhc

Wrapped up comfortely, instead of my regulary iceskating dress, I first have to look for a seat to put on my skates. And first of all I have to overcome five meters of broken ice at the edge. Unfortunately the sun has disappeared and the trees and bushes standing in the middle of  the ice surfaces look almost mystical. I head off and first slide carefully over the various sections of the frozen meadow. Some spots appear lighter (more safe), others darker, have small holes and crack violently. To my surprise, the ice is not only uneven, but also curves up and down like long waves. That means the surface moves a little uphill, sometimes downhill. What the hell is that? Doesn’t water always balance the surface level according to the law of physics? No, it obviously doesn’t, which is probably due to different freezing times and zones. One more piourette? Here we go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzpQ_KiNYvw

Anyway, I haven’t been on the ice for a long time and keep exploring new terrains of „my“ ice forest. In the beginning I was all alone, now two young other skaters have joined me. Finally I also try some turns and poses on stable ice fields. I feel wonderfully free and could have gone on forever.

Thank you winter, what a cool pleasure !

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