5 reasons I Love Winter Walking

It's that time of year when the leaves have fallen, and the weather gets downright cold. Nippy. And if you are in northern latitudes, you may dread this time of year . . . snow on the ground most days, ice and plain chills.

Yet, keeping an active lifestyle is all about attitude.



The attitude you have about being outdoors and staying active, can greatly effect your health and wellbeing. If you are a “glass half-full” person, you can easily see the joys of walking and hiking in all seasons. If you are a “glass half-empty” person, you will have to work at seeing the positives in this time of year.

Let me help you along. During these months when many things seem indoors, we can get the feeling of being locked inside. Even now, as I write this, will go down in history as 2020, the year of the pandemic, where quarantines, lockdowns, and our favorite places shuttered or are simply on the internet. Boring, sad, and quite depressing. Yet, this is the best time to see the advantages and fun of being outside. I hope you will look back and see that year as a time that moved us into healthier exercise habits. At least for some of us. 


Here are some reasons why I like going outside in the winter:

1. Warms up my body -  What? That’s right. When I go outside for exercise during the winter, if it is brisk enough, my body actually warms up (or at least feels warmer). (2). A good fast paced walk or hike, for longer than 10 minutes seems to increase my metabolism to the point of warmth. Much like how a car engine gets warm after running for a while. This inner-body warmth stays with me for a while, even when I’m finished.


2. Lightens my mood – There is no doubt about it. Being cooped up indoors, with little activity, or simply being entertained to death by all of our mindless electronic entertainment options today, frankly, makes me depressed. I have found that a once or twice a day trek outside, whether walking around the neighborhood, or a local park, or even a longer walk in the city or hiking trail, gives me the time to meditate, pray, let go of my stresses, and makes me feel more active. There are physiological answers to this question too. One Harvard Medical School article found that simple exercise can help lift people out of their depressive states. (1). But regardless of the medical science, the feeling alone is a huge benefit. 
winter-snow-play-sledding-with-kids-earthtrekgear playing-in-the-wintertime-walk-earthtrekgear
3. Snow play – Enjoying freshly fallen snow has memories like no other. And while some people focus on the drag of having to dress and boot up, I see it as standing in line for the rollercoaster. It is anticipating excitement for the joy of seeing snowflakes, and taking my kids to have fun touching, feeling, and playing with something so magical. Reliving my childhood. If you need more security or assistance, snowshoes, crampons and Nordic trekking poles may give you the confidence to enjoy the snow, while feeling safe. Whatever you use, make walking in the snow fun. Play. Sing. Listen to music. See the beauty in it. Then you’ll enjoy it.
4. A chance to cross-country ski – Have you ever tried it? It is not like regular skiing. It is a fitness, weightloss cardio building power activity. And yet you can make it as easy as you like. No wonder why one of the first in-home fitness machines to hit the market were XC ski machines. It is a fun way to burn calories fast and get fit. But more incredible is how fun and exhilarating it is to glide on top of the snow in the backcountry or a park, and feel like you are flying. If you haven’t tried it yet, go to your local ski shop or sporting goods store and try renting for a day. It will be on your next Christmas wish list.
5. Romantic winter walks – Maybe I am just too sentimental with this. The first dates I had with my wife were in the winter. Strolling in a small mountain town in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, enjoying hot cocoa, shops, breathing in the cold, crisp air, and watching the orange sunshine at sunset through snow crystals floating in the air. But whether it is with friends, your romantic partner, your kids, your dog or even jogging by yourself, there is just something magical and even romantic about walking in the wintertime. And you don’t have to worry about sweat, exhaustion, or easy fatigue that comes with summer exercise. You can simply enjoy the experience.

There you have it. Five reasons why I enjoy walking in the winter. Maybe this all sounds too fanciful for you. But I know that if you try it, consistently, dressing ready for the weather, yet pushing yourself to be regular with it, you will like it, and it will totally change your outlook on winter in the future.


Every time you are tempted to just sit around all day during winter, or watch another TV show in your binge watching, or looking at what other people are doing on their social media walls, consider it an opportunity to break the habit. Push yourself to find ways to enjoy going outside, even for a 10-minute walk around the block, or a drive to your favorite local walking spot.

Also, Set a new tradition to go on a longer walk or hike once or twice a week, at the same time and same day each week. Year round, winter especially. If you are dressed right, you’ll stay warm, and enjoy the beauty, peace and energizing feeling winter walking provides.




Mike Cutler is an avid hiker and fitness blogger for older adults and active seniors He lives with his family in Reno, Nevada near the Sierra mountains. 



1.- https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exercise-is-an-all-natural-treatment-to-fight-depression

2. Can Walking Raise Body Temperature? (epainassist.com)

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