Winter walk in nature

 Did you know that when you take a short walk in nature in winter it has a couple of nice effects on your health? Let’s discover how walk in nature during winter can work wonders for your health!
We can’t afford to hibernate over the winter, it is important to maintain an active lifestyle and reduce the likelihood of deconditioning our bodies. It is very tempting to curl up with a hot mug of cocoa while binge-watching your favorite shows on cold winter days, but a better alternative would be to take a walk. Walking is one of the easiest ways to get more active, become healthier and lose weight. It is free, can be undertaken in a variety of terrains and locations, and is a simple step in starting on a journey towards living a more active lifestyle.
 You don’t have to walk for hours in the fresh air to feel the effective effects on your health. A brisk 5-10 minute daily walk can be good for your health also. Winter and its chilly temperatures are a mixed blessing when it comes to human health. We might not appreciate it at the time, but cold temperatures perform a great public health service by killing off disease-mongering insects and microorganisms, and one of the big worries about climate change is that winter will lose its pestilence-fighting punch. Although it's a bit theoretical, cold weather may also help us slim down by stimulating metabolically active brown fat. (Harvard University Health)
Let’s discover the benefits of walking during winter time.
1. It can reduce the stress level
Research indicates that merely looking at natural phenomena such as trees, hills, the ocean, and more can reduce stress levels. This can be a reason why you can feel yourself more comfortable and calm after a short walk outside.
2. You can burn more calories
When it’s cold, your body works harder to maintain your core temperature. You therefore expend more calories in this process. Research from Maastricht University in The Netherlands has revealed that more energy is expedited from your body when you regularly expose yourself to mild cold. This is because your body works extra hard to maintain its core temperature in cold conditions.
3. Good for your skin
Moderately cold temperatures (5-10 degrees Celsius) can be good for skin’s health because it constrains blood vessels in the skin. This makes the vessels less prone to redness and swelling, as a result of a reduction in blood flow. It also helps you to gain more Vitamin-D, which is also good for your skin. Sunlight is one of the major sources of Vitamin D, which helps keep your bones healthy. Getting a vitamin D boost is one of the several benefits of walking in winters. 
4. Fight with infections

The human immune system can be activated when exposed to the cold and this enhances your ability to fight infections. Practicing sport, or walking, in winter can help to reduce your likelihood of contracting illnesses as a result of this.

We can add a lots of thing to this list why walking is healthy, because this list is endless. Walking is a form of weight-bearing exercise which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, improve high blood pressure, regulate cholesterol, improve balance, strengthen bones, increase muscle strength and endurance, reduce the risk of diabetes, improve cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness, and also help to manage joint and muscular pain.

You don’t have to start with big things to get healthier. Walk around 15 minutes daily can be a good start. But don’t forget if you walk in a wooded, field, bushy place, ticks can be found, even in winter. Because of mild winters ticks can survive buried under pile of leaves and other humid warm environments, their number is not decreasing, therefore there is a risk of a possible tick infestation even in winter. “Because tick activity depends on temperatures being above a certain minimum, shorter winters could also extend the period when ticks are active each year, increasing the time that humans could be exposed to Lyme disease.” (US EPA) This means that the number of Lyme disease infection is higher in winter period than we think. The Eastern and Western blacklegged tick, AKA deer tick – the tick that causes Lyme disease – can survive temperatures just above freezing when snow is not present. They can become active whenever the temperature rises above freezing (to about 35 degrees) and when there’s no snow on the ground, says James Burtis, a postdoctoral associate in the department of entomology at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., who has studied the wintertime biology of blacklegged ticks. This makes it possible to find active adult female ticks in cold weather if they do not find a sufficient meal by the end of fall. Thus, it is absolutely possible to be bitten and infected by a tick during the winter.

Unfortunately, winter is flu season also. The symptoms of tick borne disease are very similar to the symptoms of flu, it can be easily misdiagnosed. Take preventive steps before it is too late! Always prepare for your walks and use a repellent product even in winter.  Ultrasonic repellents could be the perfect choice for those who don’t want to use chemicals on themselves, or feel that chemical protection is not required in winter.

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.connecthealth.co.uk/blog/winter-walking/
  2. https://humbledavenport.com/blog/health-benefits-of-walking/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8925815/
  4. https://igenex.com/blog/can-you-get-lyme-disease-in-winter/#:~:text=Can%20you%20get%20Lyme%20disease%20in%20the%20winter%3F,a%20risk%20all%20year%2Dround.
  5. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/even-in-winter-you-need-to-watch-out-for-ticks-and-mosquitoes/2020/01/10/3d3ec2fe-30dd-11ea-91fd-82d4e04a3fac_story.html
  6. https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indicators-lyme-disease