Who loves to go for walks as their main source of physical activity? Next question, who still loves it even when winter comes around? If we were answering these questions by a show of hands, I am guessing a lot of hands went down for that second question.
Walking is a very popular mean of physical activity. It is one of the most basic exercises, that one can easily make more challenging. A simple easy walk can turn into a challenge simply by adding elevation, increasing speed, or increasing the distance walked. Walking is definitely a top five favorite exercise, and walking outdoors in the winter can have it’s added benefits including:
- Burning more calories, because your body is working harder to stay warm
- Sun exposure and fulfilling your Vitamin D needs
- Getting a breath of fresh air during a season that is mostly spent indoors
If you choose to get up and get moving even during winter months here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Dress well! There are tons of new and fashionable activewear to keep you warm from winter weather. Three layers should usually do the trick (base layer – cotton long sleeve; middle layer – sweatshirt; and outer layer – winter coat). Make sure all extremities are protected – head, hands, and feet.
- Stay hydrated! You can still become dehydrated in the winter, so make sure you are hydrated to improve your performance
- Stay safe! Winter means shorter days and longer nights. Unless you are walking in the afternoon, you will most likely be walking in darkness. Be sure to walk where there is more lighting in the environment, and wear reflective clothing. Also make sure to keep some source of identification and communication device with you.
- Beware of road conditions! Slipping on ice and not being able to participate in activity at all, is the last thing that should come out of your walk. Keep an open eye for icy patches and unsafe environment.
If outdoor walks become too cold, it is important to still find ways to stay active. Not being able to walk outdoors, may be a sign it is your time to try something new. Try a class at the gym, dance lessons, or at home workout videos.
Article written by GUADS member Breanna, with contributions from www.myfooddiary.com