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Five Reasons to Love Winter Walks

Winter’s days are shorter, and temperatures are dropping, but the good news is that we can reap the benefits of time in nature no matter the season. While it’s true that your layering strategy and jacket selection may take more thought, winter walks are a refreshing and restorative way to enjoy some of your favorite places. Here are five wonderful things about time in winter wonderlands.

  1. Time in nature benefits our mental health. A study from Stanford University found that people who walked for 90 minutes in a natural area showed decreased activity in the region of the brain associated with a key component of depression. That holds true even for cold weather walks. NCLC has 22 public preserves for your winter walks.
  2. Cold weather walking has physical benefits. Studies indicate that exercise in cold weather may improve endurance because the body does not have to work as hard to cool down. Exercising in cold weather can transform white fat, which stores energy, into brown fat, which is metabolically active and can burn calories to generate heat. Read more.
  3. Winter offers new perspectives of favorite places. Winter transforms the forests and fields. On winter walks you can see farther into the forest and take in views that are blocked by leaves in the summer. Next time you’re out, take time to marvel at that rocky outcropping now covered with icicles. We’re big fans of the rock formations at the Herrick Preserve.
  4. Snow makes it easier to spot animal tracks! Learning to identify tracks is a fun way to know who else is sharing the woods with you. Have you ever seen the imprint wings make as birds take flight from the snowy ground? Read more. 
  1. Enjoy trails without the buzz of mosquitos. Need we say more?

You can continue walking NCLC’s 22 nature preserves all winter long.  Here are two great resources to make your outings safe and successful.

Hiking Essentials List

Winter Hiking Tips