Even though the temperatures have dropped and the days have shortened, the winter season is still can be a pleasant time to go for a nice walk outdoors, and not just for our Premier clients and staff in our offices in Florida and North Carolina. Even in our more Northern locations there are days it is possible to get outside. Of course, when going for a winter walk one has to be careful about the weather and temperatures, but there are many benefits to taking advantage of a sunny and chilly day for some light exercise and a change of pace.
Here Are Some of the Benefits of Taking a Winter Walk
Winter walks are good for your overall health and can help burn extra calories from our more hearty and heavy winter eating habits.
A winter walk offers a refreshing change of pace of being indoors all the time.
The invigorating cold air helps to clear your mind and reduce stress.
It is a great mood booster and you can benefit a lot of mental well-being from a walk during winter as cold air releases endorphins
It is also good for the heart as with more calories burning up, your heart also has to pump faster to get the blood flowing. It also keeps the body temperature in check.
It is also a great way to soak in vitamin D that the body needs for strong and healthy bones.
Walking itself offers cognitive benefits. It improves to retain memory in old age.
You have to respect colder weather and make sure you're properly prepared, just as you would with summer heat and humidity. Here are some tips to stay safe and healthy while you enjoy your cold-weather workouts.
Wear layers. Dress in clothing that you can easily take off and put back on as needed. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material, such as polypropylene, which draws sweat away from your body.
Make sure to have a waterproof outer layer (coat, jacket).
Wear gloves and a hat.
Keep your feet warm wearing heavy socks and boots or waterproof shoes.
Apply sunscreen. It may not feel hot, but you can still get sunburned in winter. Your risk increases if you are surrounded by snow, which can reflect sunlight. Always wear a product that blocks both types of ultraviolet rays — UVA and UVB — with at least 30 SPF, and a lip balm with sunscreen.
Stay hydrated. You are more likely to get dehydrated in cold weather because cold air tamps down thirst. While you may not need the same fluid intake as during summer, you still need to maintain the same approach to hydration.
Choose a safe surface. Make sure your route offers good footing and is clear and safe to navigate. Wear shoes with good traction. If there has been recent bad weather and there is a risk for ice, reconsider your outdoor walk until weather improves. Enjoying outdoor exercise safely remains the priority.
Start with short walks. Just going for a quick walk around the block on a sunny winters day can help lift your mood and feel the warm rays of the sun on your face. One doesn’t have to go for a long hike in order to benefit from getting outside in the winter.
Always remember to speak to your health care provider before starting an exercise routine. You also always want to make sure you check the weather forecast before heading out to ensure it is safe to be outdoors. You can ask your Premier Home Health Care Aide to assist you on your walk too as part of your services.