Healthy reasons to try winter hiking this season

Stef Zisovska
 

There’s no reason to think that your hiking habit should take an off-season break when the temperatures drop and the mountains have snow caps. Winter hiking sometimes provides even more enjoyment, stunning views, and breathtaking challenges. Forget about spending the winter months sitting on your sofa and doing nothing. Instead, get out there, even if you don’t live near mountains, and take advantage of any local trail and try some winter hiking. You will feel happier, more confident, with more energy and in better physical shape. Waterproof your best hiking shoes and get ready for a new, challenging experience.

Winter exercise is the best for your physical and mental health

Snow hiking

If you want to fight off that growing feeling of inertia that usually accumulates over the winter months, then you need to get out in the snow and spend a few hours walking in winter landscape. Hiking is good for the whole family, even for your dogs. Walking and exercising in the cold will boost your immune system, burn your body fat, and improve your mood to no end.

You stop thinking that winter is something bad

If you live in a place where winter means snow, cold, and ice and you hate everything about it, it’s maybe time to see it all from a different perspective. Once you start hiking in winter, you’ll realize how fun the snow can be and that the cold is not such a problem when you’re wearing the right clothes. When you focus on the positive things, winter starts to become pleasurable.

Enjoy the magical winter scenery

Winter scenery

Have you noticed how different nature is when it’s covered in snow? And it’s not only different, but it becomes amazingly beautiful. When walking on a snowy trail, you become part of a winter wonderland, one that all your family members will enjoy. A peaceful and picturesque view of the woods or a lake covered in snow is worth miles of hiking through deep powder. If you are a photography enthusiast, then don’t forget your camera because you’ll get to shoot the best winter pictures ever.

Winter hiking doesn’t exhaust your body that much

In summer, we often feel fatigued or sore after an all-day hike in the mountains which is something doesn’t happen as much in winter. The reason is that the body gets exhausted pounding over rocky and rough terrain, while in winter we step on soft snow. The snow’s surface, even compressed, is gentler on the feet and doesn’t result in soreness so quickly. The difference is like running on concrete versus running on a dirt trail. Winter hiking will develop your level of stamina, so when the snow melts you will be able to go further.

Winter hikes scorch calories

Burning calories

A study at the University of Albany in New York states that people that hike in cold weather burn 34% more calories than the ones that practice hiking in mild temperatures. The body burns more calories in cold weather because it needs more fuel to keep moving. The second factor determining why we burn more calories during winter hikes is the terrain. Walking through the snow adds extra resistance.

Buy or rent crampons or snowshoes

Crampons will help your feet navigate safely through the snow, so it’s good to have them. Even compressed snow can be slippery, and you need to get crampons that will provide more traction for your feet. However, if you are a frequent winter hiker, consider investing in good-quality, durable snowshoes that will last for at least a few seasons. Snowshoes are perfect for hiking in deep snow and off the trail.

Don’t stay at home this winter. Get out and discover your favorite winter hike. Good luck!

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