However, one of the most simple things that you can do to help combat those January blues and fight off depression is to exercise. Exercise improves mood through increasing brain serotonin (an important neurotransmitter). The good news is that it doesn’t have to mean getting hot and sweaty – a brisk walk is perfect!
Thirty minutes of brisk walking a day could also help tackle the January bulge. If you want to pick up the pace you can always use Nordic walking poles. They’ll not only support you and make walking easier, but it will allow you to pick up the pace and work that cardiovascular system a little harder.
Walking is a great way to combine a workout with an enjoyable activity with many benefits. It is a relatively injury-free way to burn up calories and get into shape. With regular walking you reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes and can even help relieve and prevent constipation. It is also a weight-bearing exercise so it will strengthen your bones and offset conditions such as osteoporosis. However, it’s really important to have a relaxed, upright walking style to prevent aches and pain.
Below are several tips you may like to consider when heading off on a winter walk:
- Make sure you wear waterproof shoes or boots with a good grip. Avoid those with smooth soles and heels.
- Slow the pace down - use a wider/penguin like gait in snow and ice. Spreading your feet out slightly while walking on ice increases your centre of gravity.
- When snowy or icy stay on designated walkways - as they are more likely to be cleared, taking shortcuts over snow piles and other frozen areas can be hazardous.
- Look for, and avoid slippery surfaces - assume that all wet, dark areas on pavements are slippery and icy and approach with caution.
- Allow extra time - pay attention and don’t rush. Most accidents occur due to inattention or being in a hurry.
- Always look - for trip hazards or obstructions in the path of travel.
- Avoid walking in the dark, and if you need to take a good torch, just be mindful that even torches cast shadows.
If you are setting out on a long walk on uneven terrain and you have any back or leg injuries then make sure you get yourself checked by a manual therapist, such as an osteopath or physio or check with your GP. There are times when walking boots are not always appropriate for your injuries, such as a chronic achilles injury which doesn’t always tolerate stiff heavy walking boots when used on uneven surfaces.
Walk safely and enjoy you walk!
If you would like further information on the benefits of regular exercise, please give us a call on 01480 455221.