Five Reasons to Walk in the Winter

Whether you love or hate the cold, Winter is the perfect time to pull on your walking boots.

1. Shake Off the January Blues –The New Year can be a stressful time for many. Returning to work, balancing the short days and general colds and flu can cause physical responses in your body that result in feelings of stress and tension. Walking can give you time to get away from stressful situations, allowing you to breathe in the fresh air and rid yourself of the bad chemicals that are produced by stress. Walking has been proven to release the ‘happy hormone’ Serotonin into the body, helping you to feel good - research has even suggested that it can help to combat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

2. Improve your Fitness – Even the shortest walks are a good step towards building up your walking stamina. Walking can reduce your blood pressure, helps to shed excess weight and increases your muscle tone. As your fitness grows, you will naturally feel healthier and be able to walk further so that you reach your peak in the Spring and Summer, when the birds are chirping, the flowers are in bloom and the hours of daylight allow for longer periods of time in the outdoors.


3. Boost your Immune System - The colder months are always rife with colds and flu. Central heating is a breeding ground for bacteria and once struck down by illness, it can be difficult to shake it off. Walking increases the blood flow and boosts oxygen levels in the body – this kick-starts the immune system and when done regularly, can help to fight off some of Winter’s nasty infections while inhaling the cold, fresh air of the countryside can help to promote better breathing. During the Winter, many people spend less time in the sunlight, which can leave them deficient in vitamin D, which is linked to healthy bones, good spirits and a healthy immune system. An hour of walking each day could boost your levels of vitamin D, helping your body to stay well all through the Winter.

The Sense of Achievement – Sometimes, the hardest thing about the Winter is dragging yourself out of the house and into the cold and it is easy to become lethargic. A brisk walk in the fresh air not only allows you to encounter the wonderful winter scenery, but makes you feel good about making the effort. When you put up your feet with a hot drink at the end of the day, it will be with a sense of achievement rather than guilt.

Peace and Quiet – Many of the trails are much quieter in the Winter, giving you a greater sense of peace and tranquillity. As you experience the wonderful frost-covered landscapes, the serenity is sure to leave you feeling rejuvenated.

If you decide to walk during the Winter, it is important to ensure that you are well equipped with suitable clothing and footwear.  Care should be taken on icy ground and sensible precautions taken during harsh weather. Contact us for more information or advice about walking one of our trails during the Winter.

Originally published 07/02/13

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