Hiking in Winter – Active and Healthy
Whether winter greets you with grey clouds, rain and wind, or with beautiful winter scenery covered in white glittering snow – being active outdoors is always a good idea! Those who rather postpone running to spring can enjoy winter hiking. Warmly-dressed and well-equipped with the right tool, walking in winter also proves to be an effective and healthy work out.
Hiking with benefits for fitness and health
The physical activity while hiking soothes body and soul. Whether as a relaxing exercise, stabilisation of the cardiovascular system or support for metabolism – there are plenty positive effects on health and fitness. Furthermore, leg musculature is strengthened, which relieves the knees and the hips. The stabilized stomach and back musculature prevents damage to body posture. Last but not least, the positive effect on weight management has to be mentioned. Depending on walking intensity, one hour of hiking burns up to 550 kcal – an additional advantage for maintaining a slimmer figure even during the mostly cosy winter time.
Clothing and equipment
Whether taking a relaxing walk in the park and woods, or an ambitious hike at a higher pace – the clothing for winter hiking needs to provide sufficient warmth and protection. The best advice in this respect is the practical onion principle, where walkers put on several thin layers of clothes, preferably made of functional material, instead of wearing just two or three thick layers on top of each other. That keeps winter hikers warm and prevents heavy sweating during higher intensity of exercise. Of course, hat and gloves should not be left at home either. In regard to shoes, it is best to rely on waterproof, sturdy walking shoes. During longer tours, it is also advisable to carry a backpack with the most important things, such as cell phone, food and beverages. The body’s fluid balance is an especially important aspect to look after. Warm tea from the vacuum flask tastes even better in the beautiful scenery of a winter wonderland.
Special hiking tool: The Walking style X from Omron
The positive effects on health and fitness during the nature experience of winter hiking can be supported and controlled in an uncomplicated way with the help of special walking tools. The perfect companion during hiking in winter is the Walking style X from Omron Healthcare. The handy step counter not only provides the amount of steps, but also measures the walked distance and calculates the resulting amount of calories burnt while hiking. On top of that, the walking intensity indicator (MET – metabolic equivalents) displays the intensity of exercise in ratio to the intensity while resting. The MET display reaches from 2 METs to 4 METs. On average, while sitting at rest 1 MET and while walking at normal pace 3 METs are used. The more intensive a physical activity is, the higher the metabolic equivalent.
With the Walking style X hikers are able to monitor how high their walking intensity was during the last minute, and can
try to reach 4 METs during intensive workout. Thereby, users can control their exercise intensity and know exactly how many calories are burnt during each intensity level. With the memory function, the device saves the weekly data and displays the remaining exercise quantity required to reach the week’s target. Even if there are days when users are unable to exercise enough, the Walking style X will note the exercise they have missed. They will then have the rest of the week to make up for the lack of exercise. That provides plenty of motivation to be more active even during the cold winter months.
(Image: © blas – Fotolia.com)