Brrrrrr!!!!! So you wake up and it’s dark and cold. You look out the window and it’s raining. You’re booked in for a walk at 9.30am but you wonder whether to cancel and wait until the afternoon to take yourself out…
…Here are our TOP TEN reasons to get out and walk through the winter:
1. It will boost your brain
The fitter your legs, the fitter your mind. That’s according to a brand new UK study, which found that increased levels of walking, targeted to improve long-term leg power, may have a positive impact on mental ageing.
2. It’s better for you than the gym
A Health Survey for England found that adults who regularly walk briskly for more than 30 minutes tend to have a lower body mass index and smaller waist than those who take part in sports or exercise at the gym. The results were particularly pronounced in the over-50s.
3. You’ll lower risk of heart disease and osteoporosis
Caught a glimpse of winter sun? Get outside for a walk and you’ll boost your levels of vitamin D. Obtained primarily through sun exposure, vitamin D is vital for maintaining a healthy heart and bones.
4. A brisk walk will burn more calories
Is this the time of the year when you pile on the pounds? Easy to do. An average Nordic Walk burns 40% MORE calories than regular walking so it’s a simple way to counteract some of the ‘winter excess’ in a VERY enjoyable way.
5. You’ll live longer
A brisk 20-minute walk each day could be all you need to significantly reduce your chances of early death. Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that twice as many deaths may be attributable to lack of exercise, compared with the number of deaths caused by obesity.
6. It’s just as good as running
A long, brisk walk is as good as a run when it comes to lowering risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, say US researchers. The reason? It’s the total energy used, rather than the intensity of the workout, that counts.
7. It could help beat depression
Getting out and about on foot is an effective intervention for depression and has a mood-lifting effect similar to more strenuous forms of exercise, according to researchers at the University of Stirling.
8. It’s good for your joints
If you suffer from joint problems, regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do – as much as the condition will allow, obviously. Walking is ideal because it’s low-impact but helps keep your weight in check and prevents stiffness and swelling.
9. You’ll make new friends
Ask any Norfolk Nordic Walker why they LOVE coming along to sessions time and time again, and they will all say it’s the not just the power of the poles, but the social connections formed too.
10. You’ll fare even better if you pick up the pace
Walking a little quicker – or further – can increase the heart-boosting benefits of your stroll. ‘If you’re comfortable with your usual physical activity, don’t slow down as you get older: try to walk an extra block or walk at a faster pace,’ says the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
So – Don’t miss out! Don’t hibernate! It may be wet, dull, drizzly and cold, but Nordic Walking will keep you fit, happy and healthy right the way through the darkest of days.