Depending upon where you live, winter often brings colder temperatures, more rain, darker mornings and earlier sunsets. In the Northwest, this time of year is often dreaded by many folks ~ bringing on a “let’s stay inside” attitude when it comes to exercise.
Being someone who prefers the warmth of summertime, I decided, nonetheless, to challenge myself and go out the door (to do a brisk walk) regardless of weather conditions. Now, one week into my commitment, the results have been physically refreshing, invigorating and enjoyable. In addition, taking the symbolic step of leaving behind the duties of the day and spending a period of time in nature can clear the mind and open the soul to a larger, more expansive world. In doing so, worries and concerns find their place as the body moves and breathes, and the mind begins to seek balance and calm.
What’s more, research from the University of Essex in England shows that even five minutes of outdoor activity or exercise ~ cycling, walking, gardening, fishing ~ can boost mood and enhance self-esteem. Previous research has proven outdoor walking battles depression better than a “mall walk” or other indoor workouts. In addition to these findings, outdoor activity brings greater exposure to health-promoting vitamin D, improved mental functioning and increased compassion.
If you are someone who shuns the out-of-doors due to inclement weather and may fear getting wet and cold, why not give outdoor activity a try? With proper rain gear and mindful layering of garments, the experience could bring many benefits. With obesity, depression and lack of vitamin D on the rise, a few minutes outdoors daily could be not only preventive and affordable; it just may bring increased balance, joy and inner peace.
Come on ~ let’s go!