Health Benefits of Winter Walks

At this time of the year, the Pink Hound Mountain Resort, Surfers in the coastal countries looking for large winter expansions and the rest of us are trying to get fitness. But if you close your own indoor training though the outside is cold, you missed it. There is nothing wrong with shuffling an interval session to row the boat or move some iron, but you should help yourself one by one, add that kind of activity with daily walking, no matter what the weather is doing. Here are some reasons to tie up, head into the big out (or, if you city-bound, explore some nearby parks or greenery):

Find Your Flow

We often associate flow states just with fast-paced extreme sports–hucking a waterfall on a Class V river, nailing a double-black run on our favorite ski hill, getting barreled at our local surf break. But while these adrenaline-triggering activities are the quickest routes to deep flow, they’re not the only path. Just taking a walk (with your phone turned off and headphones in your pocket, preferably, so you don’t disrupt the concentration that’s central to flow) outside for 20 or 30 minutes can help you disengage the pre-frontal cortex and get you into a flow state. The benefits don’t end when your walk does – according to Steven Kotler in his riveting book Rise of Superman, they can continue for hours. So if you’ve got a big project to finish and are getting nowhere, push away from your laptop, put your winter boots on and take a walk. When you get back you’ll be a brand new you.

How to relax the pressure

A bevy of research shows that simply looking at pictures of trees, the ocean and other natural phenomena lowers blood pressure and inflammation markers. Actually getting ourselves into the outdoors amps up the stress-busting effect. On a day that you’re really feeling flustered, anxious or overworked, try a little experiment. Write down your stress level on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the max. Now go and take a walk outside, come back in and re-record your stress level. I bet you’ll notice a big difference in your mood and emotional state. No surprises, as many studies demonstrate that regular immersion in the natural world is more effective than SSRIs for combating depression.


Recalibrate Your Senses

When was the last time you tried to differentiate between two different birds chirping, watched the sunset or smelled the smoke from a wood fire? We get so trapped by our technology that we end up blunting our senses–from always-in headphones to staring at static screens for hours on end. Our eyes are meant to toggle between things that are right in front of us and those in the middle to far distance. But we spend the majority of our day glued to our phone, computer monitor, tablet or TV and start to lose our innate telescopic vision and spatial awareness. Producers amp up the loudness of digital music to make up for the narrowness of the non-analog sound, and so our ears get attuned to thumping bass, wailing treble and lose the ability to pick out the nuances that nature’s noises can provide (or even vinyl recordings, for that matter). The cure is simple: get outside and try to re-tune your senses.

Get Uncomfortable

Scott Carney pointed out that in his outstanding book does not kill us, our indoor lifestyle also makes us too comfortable, uh, comfortable. Our temperature controls cars, houses, and workplaces, blocking the sun and shadows and keeping yourself from the destruction of extreme weather. In this process, we try to revoke millions of years of evolution to adapt to the environment and to limit our body should be able to. When you go to nature, even if just a quick afternoon walk, you lose your illusion control. The wind on your back, the sun in your face, your feet under the tightening of the snow – exposed to these elements is recovering. If you are too cold, you force your body to warm up naturally, the ability to weaken us stick to the safe, comfortable man for society. You do not need to go to the extreme re-sensitize yourself. On the contrary, only need to submit every day to do some outside