Winter walking to boost your immune system? It’s much healthier than you think! And with a little effort, it is much easier to persuade yourself to get off the sofa and venture outside when it’s cold.
Did you know that walking through the cutting wind and freezing temperatures is very healthy?
It might be preferable to stay inside during autumn season (to protect sensitive skin) and during winter, especially when it’s cold. Still, it’s important to keep moving outside, even in winter.
There are great advantages to be had from winter walking. It exposes you to sunlight and vitamin D, helps you get fitter and makes you sleep better. It is also a huge boost to your mental health and a great help for immunity.
It can do your immune system a world of good. But how exactly does this come about?
Table of Contents
Fitter through exercise
Physical activity positively affects all kinds of processes in your body, such as your blood circulation and immune system.
The fitter you are, the better your resistance is. For example, half an hour a day of moderate-intensity exercise (e.g. brisk walking) has a positive effect on your immune system.
Sunlight and sleep to boost your immune system
The days are short and dark, especially in December. Research shows that sunlight has a positive effect on your day-night rhythm and, therefore, sleep quality.
And sufficient sleep is again important for your resistance. Is the sun shining, even if it’s winter?
Then try going outside for a walk.
Vitamin D and immunity
Vitamin D plays a positive role in your immune system and helps strengthen your bones.
Sunlight is the main source of this. It is usually not a problem to get enough sunlight on your skin in spring and summer, but in winter, of course, this is difficult.
If you caught enough sunlight during the summer months, your body has stored some vitamin D.
You can also get some of your vitamin D from your diet. Vitamin D is found primarily in fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, and eggs and meat.
In some cases, it is wise to take extra vitamin D. This advice applies to women over 50, men over 70, people with tinted skin and those who spend very little time outdoors.
Before you start taking vitamin D, check the supplement’s label to see exactly how much you should take to avoid overdosing, or get advice from a dietitian.
Happy hormones, happy health
Adequate daylight, sunlight, exercise and a healthy gut balance are also very important for your mental health during the winter months.
While exercising, you produce endorphins, the happy hormone. If you go outside for a walk, you will be exposed to sunlight and therefore produce more endorphins.
Tips for when you go outdoors in winter
- Dress warmly enough so that you don’t catch a cold while hiking. Put on several layers.
- Wear a good pair of shoes that will keep your feet warm.
- If you’re in need of a new pair, have a look at this best walking shoes list for plus-size hikers
- In the cold, at the beginning of your walk, when your muscles are still cold and stiff, you have a slightly higher chance of injury. Do some warming up indoors before. For example, walk up and down the stairs a few times or walk back and forth through your house a few times.
- Off for a long walk? Then make sure you eat and drink enough. In winter you lose moisture while walking, even if you don’t think it’s hot enough. So drink plenty of water.
- What should you eat before doing a walking activity? Nutritional tips
- How to stay hydrated while walking: Hydration tips
Winter walking to boost your immune system: Conclusion
This post has explained the benefits of getting out and about in the winter months.
Not only do you fill up your resources of vitamin D, but you also sleep better and keep fit during the otherwise long and dreary months.
Your immune system is strengthened and you’re less likely to fall prey to nasty winter colds.