Ever since college when I discovered that I could shed a lot of excess weight, while continuing to drink pitchers of beer by myself, simply by walking to my off campus apartment every day rather than taking for the bus (I also arrived at my home before the bus would have even left campus…), I have been a big fan of walking for fitness and as a means of transportation. Most people have the ability and opportunity to walk and yet many people walk very little. I observe those who cannot walk but desire strongly and work hard just to be able to take a few steps and I observe those who can walk but work hard at taking as few steps as possible. Like Freedom Williams of C&C Music Factory rapped “things that make you go hmm.”
I walk all year round and I love walking in a colder temperature. This is why:
- My minutes per mile time decreases in the colder temperatures because I have to move faster to stay warm. The faster pace allows me to practice high intensity interval training while walking which strengths my muscles and burns more of my excess stored fat.
- The snow provides a very gentle resistance. It is a little bit harder to navigate through fresh snow (even with snow boots on) but not so hard that I risk over doing it or injuring myself. After a walk in the snow I can feel that I used muscles that aren’t typically used during a walk, and I love that! Snow shoeing also provides excellent exercise.Plus new fallen snow makes for lovely acoustics and muffles the sound of the earth and its inhabitants – I especially enjoy less human noise since less people drive or go outside in the snow. Walking in the snow and colder temperature is more peaceful. J
- Walking in colder temperatures increases your brown fat. Brown fat was previously thought to be just for babies, as a baby gets older the brown fat disappears. But now we know that adults have brown fat too! Brown fat increases metabolism, boosts antioxidant activity and can protect against diabetes.
I recommend wearing layers when walking in colder temperatures. For example, today is 18°F, with 15 mph winds. Sometimes the sun was shining and other times it was snowing. I wore tights, velour sweat pants, socks, snow boots, two t-shirts, a sweater, a heavy wool coat with a wool collar (collars were born out of function, not style), a scarf, hat and three pairs of thin gloves. I put my collar up and wrap my scarf around it so that the wool lining on the collar warms my neck and lower portion of my face. I was able to lose a pair of gloves after I walked up a few hills. Had it been 10° warmer, I would have had to take my hat off and lower my collar. I also would have ditched the tights, second t-shirt and sweater.
Even during the very wintery winter of a few years past, I did not miss one day of walking! And I’m not the only die-hard that walks at lunch whether cold, rain, or snow.
Be well and love the earth,