I love an early morning winter walk! It sets me up for the day, it motivates me, wakes my body up and gets my blood pumping. Whether it be a hike over snow topped mountains or a frosty local walk with the dogs. As a bonus, the trails are much quieter too, the good weather walkers confined to their living rooms. There is something about this time of year that has me looking forward to wintry walks.
Of course there is many a good reason for the mood it gives me apart from cold fresh air. A winter walk can do a whole lot of good for the body and mind in lots of ways. Lets take a look at some.
Great For The Mood
This is the one effect I always feel on a winter walk. The mood boost and the benefit to the wellbeing of my mind! I can always look back on myself and see the massive difference in myself on days I have got up and walked early, or lazed that extra half hour and found it hard to be productive for the rest of the day.
I will go into some of the physical health benefits at play here later, but one thing a good walk in the fresh air does is releases endorphines. Keen athletes and runners know that ‘high’ feeling after every big run they do. We all produce them, it only takes the body 20 – 30 minutes of walking to get your own body’s natural mood boosters going? Why reserve the good vibes just for sunny warm days? In fact, if you are far from being an athlete the mental boost from these endorphines as you walk could feel even greater as you are not used to them.
So a way to block out the winter blues is get out the door. Freshen the senses on a walk and get the body’s chemicals boosting your brain. I myself do a lot of winter walking on a whim, like the day I got up, decided to get in the car and walk up a wintry Ingleborough. Even more brain boosting with spontaneity and adventure I didn’t know I would have when I opened my eyes that morning.
You Burn More Calories
The fair weather walker. Adventurous in summer, walking and burning calories. Inside in winter and putting back on the pounds lost. Of course we have gyms and exercises to keep control. But I use the cold outdoors as my gym.
If it is a frosty and freezing day then the body has to work harder to keep that core temperature within. If you walk uphill then your body not only has to burn calories on your use of muscles, arms, legs, buttocks etc. It has to keep up that main body temperature on top of that. This is a super way of boosting your calorie burning exercise regime.
Good For The Heart
Again as per the extra calorie burning your heart also has to pump faster to get the blood flowing and keeping that core temperature at the 37.5 degrees it needs. Great exercise for this oh so important muscle and a way to increase its capacity.
The Goodness Of Natural Light
Vitamin D is vital for healthy and strong bones. We get most of it from the sun’s rays hitting our skin. Yes it is in oily fish etc but you would need to live on it and eat more than you think of that to get what you need. In the summer we of course like to go out and get big doses of Vitamin D on our skin. With protection I hope. But here in Britain we have plenty of those crispy winter blue sky days where we can get a dose of Vitamin D at the darker end of year.
Never mind that. I personally can feel my body telling me if I have spent too long indoors. The warm dry central heating air, the unnatural lights. That is my body telling me to get out and get some of the natural light and beautiful fresh air.
It Is Free of Course!
Unless you head somewhere that charges a fortune for parking, walking in the outdoors is absolutely free! You don’t have to go far. Go to a local park or even straight out of the front door. Get some variety to keep the mind and senses interested.
A bonus for me is the sunrise photography opportunities are a huge side effect. The dogs need their walks and fresh air as much as I do, why not do it so you get yourself an added benefit. Walk to the coffee shop you love for when they open? Walk along the beach with only the noise of the cold waves crashing in.
I don’t always look for mountains or go up on the tops in the snow when I want my winter walking fix. But I know, that wherever I do, it clears my mind, it keeps me fit and replenishes me for the day ahead.