It is very tempting to curl up with a hot mug of cocoa while binge-watching your favorite shows on cold winter days, but a better alternative would be to take a walk. Yes, there are numerous health benefits of walking regularly, so why not realize these benefits during the winter season?
Read on to discover why winter walks are an ideal choice for you:
1. Reduce Stress Levels
Research indicates that merely looking at natural phenomena such as trees, hills, the ocean, and more can reduce stress levels. This is the reason why some people feel much calmer after taking a walk. So, if you feel overworked, frustrated, or anxious, consider taking a walk within a terrain with vegetation or the beach as such walks are bound to improve your emotional and mental state.
2. Burn More Calories
When you walk during winter, you burn more calories than when walking in other seasons. Research from Maastricht University in The Netherlands has revealed that more energy is expedited from your body when you regularly expose yourself to mild cold. This is because your body works extra hard to maintain its core temperature in cold conditions. Besides, walking through the snow and against the wind takes more energy, thus burning down those extra calories.
4. Exposure to Sunlight
Sunlight is one of the major sources of Vitamin D, which helps keep your bones healthy. Getting a vitamin D boost is one of the several benefits of walking in winters. Consider scheduling a 15-minute walk in the outdoors for two to three days a week to realize this benefit even during winter when the sun is barely out in the sky.
4. Re-sensitize Yourself
Technology has revolutionized almost every aspect of human life. When it is cold, you will likely adjust the temperature in your home, office, and car, insulating yourself from the extreme weather outside. While this is not a bad thing, you deprive your body of the opportunity to do what it should be capable of.
Even a 15-minute regular stroll in the outdoors exposes all your senses to various weather conditions. These include the windy breeze and sunlight on your skin and the feel of snow beneath your feet, all of which help re-sensitize your body to the natural environment all around you.
How to Safely Acquire the Health Benefits of Walking in Cold
While there are numerous health benefits of walking during winter, research indicates that the same may also increase the risk of hypothermia. You should, therefore, strive to stay safe during these walks by
- Warming-up before the walk
- Layering Up/ Wearing clothing in layers
- Staying Hydrated
- Keeping your hands, head, and feet warm
- Applying Sunscreen
- Choosing a safe terrain/ surface
Get up and Get Moving
From getting your body re-sensitized and re-energized to destressing and getting some Vitamin D, a few minutes’ walk outdoors can be beneficial to you even during winter; that is why you should get up and get moving. However, make sure that you stay safe by layering up during your winter walks and choosing to walk in a secure environment.