I love being outside, especially when the warm sun is shining - my perfect walk or run would definitely include being outdoors instead of on the 'dreadmill'. Even though I am not a huge fan of the cold, winter months, outdoor walking or running during the winter may have surprising benefits such as:
It can strengthen your bones: Sun exposure triggers vitamin D production in the skin, and bones need the “sunshine vitamin” to make the body absorb bone-strengthening calcium properly. Not getting outside during winter months slows down production and decreases the body’s store of vitamin D. Exercising outside during the winter and getting 15 minutes of sun on your face and hands two to three times per week should suffice for getting enough sun for vitamin D production.
It can improve your mood: Spending time with friends exercising can have positive effects on your mood and decrease perceptions of pain. A University of Washington in Seattle study of 112 women aged 19 to 78 shows that women who took a brisk, outdoor walk for 20 minutes daily had better mood, higher self-esteem and an improved sense of well-being at the end of the eight-week study.
It’s motivating: You’re more likely to complete a workout outdoors than on a treadmill simply because once you get halfway through your walk or run the only way back is to walk or run. With a treadmill you can hit the stop button and hop off any time.
It burns a ton of calories: Outdoor exercising through the park or around the neighborhood on a cold day won’t burn any more calories than exercising on a warm summer day, but walking or running in the snow will because it’s harder to move your feet in the snow, and you have to lift your legs a little higher.
What’s your favorite way to stay active in the winter?