Ladies it’s official—it’s winter. Granted I am writing to you today from sunny Anna Maria Island, Florida where I’m “snowbirding” for the holidays but I’ll go back to winter and have just come from winter—in Wisconsin! (The photo above was taken on a walk last week at Willow River State Park in Hudson, WI. I love the falls in winter!)
I lived in Minnesota and Wisconsin for 25+ years so I know a thing or two about winter walking. In my last blog post I reviewed how good gear and the right route make winter walking truly wonderful. In today’s post I highlight my top 3 benefits of winter walking for women.
Combat SAD! Seasonal Affective Disorder is more common in women than men and, having suffered from it myself, I am particularly sensitive to how devastating it can be. Walking is a fantastic way to combat SAD because of the exposure to sunlight, which in turn helps us produce much needed vitamin D. Some studies suggest that a Vitamin D deficiency might be an underlying cause of SAD. Just 15 minutes of sun on your face and hands 2 or 3 times per week means getting enough sun for vitamin D production. This sun exposure triggers vitamin D production in the skin, which helps combat SAD. And ladies here’s a great side-benefit of winter walking/vitamin D production—our bones need vitamin D to make our bodies absorb the calcium we need to keep our bones strong.
Burn more calories! I’m not a huge proponent of calorie counting but I am a proponent of being aware of what you eat and why. I’m also very aware that in winter it’s easy to eat more carbs and sweets and exercise less. That’s why winter walking is a great exercise choice. We burn more calories because our bodies are working harder to stay warm. Win-win? I think so!
Boost self-esteem! Studies have shown that outdoor exercise can boost self-esteem. When we feel good about ourselves, we make better choices for ourselves. In this way boosting self-esteem becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Self-esteem is defined as, “Confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.” This is something I want for all women—that we feel confident in who we are and we care for who we are! Deliberately boosting our self-esteem with a winter walk seems like a very natural self-care choice!
Winter walking has benefits for your whole Self—that’s body, mind, and spirit—that will help you get through winter with a joy and resilience you’ve never experienced before. I highly recommend you get your walk on this winter to be happy, healthy, and to have a spring in your step no matter the season.