Keep on Walking: Why You Should be Walking All Year Round
It may be the oldest means of locomotion, but the benefits of walking everyday go on for miles. Proven to help combat diabetes, heart disease, strokes, dementia and depression, it’s one of the most accessible and inexpensive ways to boost your general health. And if that wasn’t enough of an incentive, it’s also a fun way to get outside and explore. With a decent pair of boots and a durable jacket, you can enjoy walking no matter what time of year it is, whether you’re traversing a coast path, hiking up a mountain, or ambling through a national park. Come rain or shine, here are just a few highlights to look forward to in the walker’s calendar.
A springtime walk offers idyllic views of the countryside waking up from its winter slumber. As it yawns and stretches, it unleashes new life that’s best discovered on foot. The flowers are in bloom, with budding snowdrops, golden daffodils and – if you know where to find them – stunning woodland carpets of bluebells. Baby animals, like gambolling lambs and flustered ducklings, are putting on free displays of overwhelming cuteness in the fields and rivers. And the teasing hints of summer sunshine are beginning to melt the winter blues away. So if you’re trying to tighten up your glutes before summer arrives, spring provides the perfect setting for walking off winter indulgences.
Cast your laptop aside. Unless you’re trapped in the office, there’s no excuse to be indoors in the gorgeous summer months. Now’s the time for Microadventures, weekend camping trips, wild swimming and late-evening barbeques, all the while soaking up essential doses of Vitamin D. UVB rays from sunlight have huge health benefits – including hormone regulation, bone health, mood enhancement and immunity boosting – so get it all while it’s hot. Just be sensible about how much sun exposure you get, and remember to slap on the suncream to avoid the classic British ‘beetroot-face’ phenomenon.
The moment leaves start shivering off the trees, the full intensity of autumn’s colour spectrum is unleashed. With rust-coloured blankets of foliage, shiny green acorns and crimson-streaked skies, the September to November months offer some of the year’s most stunning walking conditions. It’s also the time nature treats us to dramatic displays, including the clashing antlers of the autumn deer rut, flurries of migrating birds, and the rare chance to see red squirrels as they gather nuts for winter. And if you’re pinning your hopes on the latest gear for Christmas, it’s the perfect time to squeeze the last few miles out of your old walking kit. For some Christmas present inspiration, take a look at our Top Gifts for Walkers.
The Mamas & the Papas had the right idea when they stepped out for a walk on a winter’s day. So to help keep your electricity bills down and spirits up, avoid the temptation to hibernate indoors throughout these chilly months. The symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are typically most severe during December, January and February, linked to lower light levels. Shutting out the winter months not only increases your risk of suffering during these shorter days, it also means beautiful landscapes with glimmering dustings of frost, clear skies and peaceful silences will pass you by. There’s no other season you’re more likely to get an entire beach to yourself, or glimpse snow resting on conifer trees. And nothing beats putting your muddy boots up and relaxing with a mulled cider beside a roaring fire in a country pub – content in the knowledge you’ve earned it.
Sophie is a freelance copywriter and journalist from Wales. A keen climber, hiker, cyclist and slackliner, she’s rarely seen without bruised knees and a backpack full of malt loaf. To read more of her work, visit sophiedeal.contently.com