The Benefits of Walking in Winter

Many people are put off from their usual walking habits when the winter months hit. Fear of the cold, the darkness and struggling to find the motivation all contribute to us being less active in this season. However, getting out and about in the winter can do your body and your mind a wide range of favours, helping you to sleep better, and to fight illnesses. Are you wondering what these incredible benefits are? Here are just a few of the positives you could experience from walking more in the winter:

A man in country clothing walking in the winter snow

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a vital element of your diet and lifestyle to keep your body healthy and strong, and without getting enough of this essential vitamin; you could leave yourself at risk. With shorter days and a lot less sunshine, it can often take a lot of motivation to get us out and about, but remember, you need to get your vitamins from the sun! Even a short 10-15 minute walk during daylight hours can help to boost your vitamin D levels. Or on the few days that the weather is a little brighter, why not take on a countryside walking challenge?

Mood Booster

The great outdoors is a fantastic mood booster, and although you may not like the cold, if you wrap up in some warm country clothing, thick socks and walking boots, you’ll be prepared to take on the elements and enjoy the wonders of nature. Whether you’re walking to work, our for a casual stroll or enjoying a good day of shooting, the fresh air and natural environments will certainly give you a mood boost, helping to beat the winter blues.

Burning Calories

If you’re looking to keep off the pounds this winter, then an outdoor exercise regime could be just the ticket for you! As your body has to work harder to keep up your core temperature, every workout will mean that you burn more calories. Plus, with no heat stress to make you feel uncomfortable, you might even find that your usual training schedule is easier! After running or walking at a pace for a few minutes you’ll soon warm up and will be able to burn calories with a lot less work!

Improved Sleep

Often people who are struggling to sleep at night are those who are not active enough in the day. To wear yourself out a little more, a short evening walk, or long walk during the day can certainly help to send you off to sleep with ease. The sun setting earlier in the evening can also help, as your body begins to adjust to the natural times of day, without waking you up at the crack of dawn with the bright summer sunshine. It has been scientifically proven that we sleep better in cooler conditions, so the winter temperatures could actually do our sleeping patterns a favour.

Immune System Booster

The more time you spend in the wintery weather, the more your body will build up a resistance to the heat. Although we all experience those pesky colds once the summer ends, heading out for a short walk in the cold weather can actually help your body to build up a tolerance to sicknesses. The other positive of the cold weather is that many bugs and insects that carry harmful bacteria won’t survive, so you can head out free from worrying about any nasty bites! Studies have shown that training in cold weather can reduce the risk of getting a winter illness by up to 30%!

Top tips:

  • Wrap up warm with a hat and gloves to keep the cold at bay (but don’t wrap up too warm as moving around will help your body to heat up too)
  • If you’re heading out for a long walk or run, don’t forget to warm up and cool down even in the winter!
  • Invest in a good pair of walking boots/trainers to make your walks as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
  • Explore new walking routes in the winter for a change of scenery and a new challenge!

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