Updated: Mar 5, 2019
Imagine the following scenario: it's a cold, grey day in February. The paths in the park are covered with mud and puddles, and soon the murky day will turn into a dark, cold evening and an even darker, colder night. Will you snuggle up on the sofa with a blanket and a cup of tea (and biscuit!), or will you put on your walking shoes and head outside?
While low temperatures, frequent rain and short days are likely to turn us into hygge-loving couch potatoes, here are a few reasons why being active outdoors is especially important and beneficial during the winter months.
1. Moderate (aerobic) exercise during daylight hours increases the level of 'happiness chemicals' in the blood: endorphins, serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine,... Going for a Nordic Walk will not only put you in a good mood short-term (cf. 'runner’s high'); it will make you feel more balanced and positive in the long run, too.
2. Regular moderate exercise helps with managing weight, which is especially useful if, like me, you tend to eat more during the winter months.
3. Being active outdoors in any weather – along with a healthy, balanced diet – will give your immune system a boost. You'll be more likely to skip colds, the flu and other bugs going around, and if you do catch them, your body will be able to fight them off more quickly.
4. Nordic Walking improves your circulation, not least because of the catch/release movement of your hands and the active heel/toe roll of your feet. The increased blood flow helps your body’s systems function more effectively - and it also keeps you warm.
5. Nordic Walking poles can help you feel more secure on slippy ground caused by ice, frost or mud. They improve your balance and put your body in four-wheel drive mode.
Also, a reminder of two slightly annoying (but true) quotes:
6. Bad weather always looks worse through a window. -Tom Lehrer
7. There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. -Scandinavian saying
8. Is there anything more rewarding than a hot drink and shower after a nice long walk in the cold/wind/fog/drizzle/…?