Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Walking During The Winter

 It is mid September, heading into October.  For many of us, that signals that it is heading into fall and winter isn't too far behind.  Up here in Alaska, the temperatures start dropping the middle of August in many parts, and the snow isn't far behind.  I've seen multiple feet of snow fall by this time of the year.  Today, I'm looking at walking outside during the winter and on Friday, I'll address the issue of walking in areas where it is too cold to walk outside. We'll look at your alternatives.

So if the temperature isn't too bad, then you might want to continue walking outside because there are some benefits to exercising outside. Even though the temperature is a bit colder, you are still enjoying fresh air and sunshine when you are outside.  This can really help your mood and you are less likely to suffer from the winter blues.

In addition, when you are out in the sunlight you are getting Vitamin D.  Research indicates that when you spend 5 to 30 minutes outside each week, you will get all the Vitamin D your body needs. This is important because it is difficult to absorb Vitamin D from the sunlight that comes in through a window.

When you walk outside, your body is more effectively burning calories because your body is trying to stay warm so it uses more energy. Thus if you take a nice walk at a great pace, you use calories and you can end up losing weight more quickly.  Furthermore, there are studies that indicate you are activating your immune system when you walk outside in the winter.  Just think, a short 30 minute walk outside, can help you keep from getting winter colds. 

A nice winter walk can also give you a boost of energy without needing to take any caffeine.  In fact, research suggests that the energy boost you get will keep you going for three to four hours after the walk. There is also research to indicate that walking outside, can change the fat from white to a lovely brown.  A brown colored fat is said to be better for our metabolism and the white fat is not good for us.

In addition, when you are outside in the cold and snow, the scenery is so different from what you normally see the rest of the year.  You will see things, you've never noticed before and there is nothing prettier than fresh snow sparkling around you as you walk.  Furthermore, the air is much cleaner in the winter so everything smells so much fresher.  Also in winter, there are fewer allergy causing items in the air so you are less likely to have issues.

Finally, all the fresh air combined with the extra demand on calories can help us sleep so much better at night.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. On Friday, keep an eye open for ideas of how to walk when the temperature outside is too cold for you.  Have a great day. 

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