• Post category:Health
Why winter walking is good for our mind and body plus watch out for the Supermoon

It’s a researchy sort of blog this week – all of it good news for Nordic walkers. 

The first concerns that great British pastime – the weather.  Apparently exercising in colder conditions boosts our performance.  Furthermore, less perspiration and lower heart rates mean that we can work harder for longer in the winter months than during the summer.  Mike’s two hour stamina walk sounds just the thing.

All in the mind

Many thanks to those of you who have recommended the BBC Radio 4 series All in the Mind to me.   I have been enjoying listening to it and the last two episodes make particularly happy listening for those of us who walk. 

I’ve yet to come across any piece of research which says that walking is bad for us and there is a great deal of evidence showing how walking boosts our mental health.  The question that fascinates many is ’why?’.  Although it hasn’t answered this question, the latest research from Iowa University has concluded that it is the act of walking per se which boosts people’s moods.  The simple movement is enough – you do not even need to want to walk in order to benefit.  That’s worth remembering next time we look out of the window on a cold, wet day and we distinctly don’t want to walk…  (To hear this story start at 24:30 on this Episode)

Episode Two (starting at 22:05) discusses how mood, self-esteem and perceived levels of stress reduce when people exercise in a green environment compared with exercising indoors or in built up environments. The theory is that exercising outdoors is ‘blue printed’ into our brains because it’s how we’ve developed as a species.  We therefore have a positive emotional response when we return to it.  Plus it gives us a satisfying sense of progression which impacts on our perception of how hard we’re working.  The even better news for our club is that, the more you talk during exercise the more you are likely to want to come back and do it again – now that’s the sort of research we like!

Supermoon = Superwalk

I don’t know whether any of you saw the enormous moon a few weeks ago.  I was so amazed that I practically drove my car off the road looking at it.  Well, on Monday 14th November the moon will come closer to the Earth than at any time in almost 70 years.  The spectacle will not occur again until 2034.  It will be even bigger than the moon I saw at the beginning of October – up to a third brighter and 14 per cent bigger than usual – hence the ‘Supermoon’ title.  So if you are free, join Rachael and myself for a special 6pm evening walk that night, finishing with a drink in the Kings Arms at the top of Whiteladies Road if you want.  Just book online as usual.  Fingers crossed for clear skies!

Vicky